Growing research evidence is showing that a number of factors and daily stressors specific to gifted children may place them at higher risk of developing behavioural and emotional problems. To date, no empirically supported parenting interventions have been evaluated in the population of gifted children despite the identified need by their parents.
The aim of this study was to examine the efficacy of a tailored behavioural parenting intervention for improving the parenting skills of parents of gifted children. An additional aim was to assess the effect of the parenting changes on the behavioural and emotional adjustment of the gifted child.
It was predicted that:
To meet the eligibility criteria, a family had to have a child aged between three and ten and had to be identified by a formal cognitive assessment or by their school as gifted. 75 families were randomly assigned to one of the two conditions: intervention or waitlist. The intervention, Gifted and Talented Group Triple P, is based on the Group Triple P program. To assess the efficacy of the program, the parents and teachers of the gifted children completed a battery of questionnaires at three time periods: pre-intervention, post-intervention and 6-month follow up.
No significant intervention effects were found for parent reported child emotional problems or teacher reports of classroom behaviour.
The results of the study provide partial support for both hypotheses. Furthermore, the results are consistent with previous research supporting the efficacy of behavioural parenting programs, in particular, Triple P programs. The results also support previous research showing improvements in parenting and child behaviour immediately following intervention and maintenance of treatment gains after 6 months.
In summary, the findings support the efficacy of the tailored Group Triple P program for parents of gifted children. The findings of this study also provide a significant contribution to the area of research with gifted children and information on suitable parenting support for this population. Lastly, given that the parents were reporting low to moderate levels of difficult behaviour at pre-intervention, further research is necessary with a larger and more severe clinical sample to examine how effective this program is for higher-risk gifted children.