From February 2017, information about the work of the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow is available and updated on the University of Glasgow website.

Healthy And Positive Parenting for You


Children displaying behaviour problems are at an increased risk of poor developmental outcomes. Parenting practices are closely linked with child development and behaviour, and parenting programmes have been recommended for addressing child problems. Evidence also suggests that poor parental mental health and parenting stress can have negative outcomes for children, disrupt the parent’s ability to parent positively, and impact the effectiveness of parenting programmes.

The research project

The HAPPY research project is an evaluation of a parenting and stress management programme designed to promote positive parenting and parental wellbeing amongst parents with young children. The fieldwork was conducted in Glasgow with support from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and aimed to recruit 80 parents with a child aged 3-8 years. The study is being carried out by Melanie Palmer as part of her doctoral research under the supervision of Dr Marion Henderson.

As part of the evaluation of the programme parents were asked to complete questionnaires which asked about their family background, how they were feeling, how they responded to their child, how confident they felt as parents, and their child’s behaviour at several time points. We also interviewed some parents about their experience of completing the programme.

The intervention

The intervention is an 8-week group programme that consists of two Triple P positive parenting discussion groups and six Stress Control sessions. The programme aims to teach parents strategies to manage stress and distress in constructive ways and strategies to reduce child misbehaviour and increase their confidence as a parent. The 8-week group programme was held at the Langside Halls in Shawlands, Glasgow.

Triple P Positive Parenting Discussion Groups
During the two parenting discussion groups parents will be taught about positive parenting and discipline strategies to manage child misbehaviour in a constructive way. At the first session, parents will being introduced to the principles of positive parenting and taught a range of skills to support their child’s competence and development, and build a positive relationship with their children. The second session looks at child disobedience. During this session parents are taught reasons for disobedience, ways to encourage positive child behaviour, and strategies for managing disobedience. The parenting discussion groups are interactive in nature and parents will be given the chance to discuss and practice the strategies. They last 2 hours and will take place once a week for two weeks. For more information on Triple P see

Stress Control
During the six Stress Control sessions parents will be taught about the effects of stress and strategies to help reduce depression, stress, and anxiety. The Stress Control sessions will cover information about how stress affects the body, thoughts, actions, and sleep, and parents will be taught strategies to help them control stress and panic. The Stress Control sessions are delivered in a sit and listen format and parents will not be asked to discuss with others. They last for 1.5 hours and will take place once a week for six weeks. For more information on Stress Control see


Project Students