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Using Caregiver Strain to Predict Participation in a Peer-Support Intervention for Parents of Children With Emotional or Behavioral Needs

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Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders

Published online on


Children receiving services for severe emotional and behavioral difficulties are less likely to have parents who are involved in their education and support services. Peer-to-peer family support programs are one approach to increasing the self-efficacy and empowerment of parents’ engagement in the treatment of a child’s mental health conditions. Furthermore, programs providing parental support may reduce the strain and negative consequences caregivers may experience due to the stress of caring for a child with emotional and behavioral needs. Although much is known about the relation between caregivers’ strain and children’s use of mental health services, less is known about caregiver strain and parents’ participation in family support programs. This study evaluated whether caregiver strain predicted parents’ (N = 52) participation in a phone-based, peer-to-peer support intervention. Results of the regression analysis indicated that highly strained parents participated in four to seven more phone conversations over the course of intervention, which occurred across the academic year. Therefore, findings have implications for the school and mental health providers aiming to increase the involvement of parents of children with emotional and behavioral disorders.