A web-delivered group intervention supporting parental sensitivity and self-efficacy: an Italian pilot study

Francesca Boldrini, Benedetta Ragni, Daniela Barni, Teresa Grimaldi Capitello, Rosaria Giampaolo, Vanessa Marchetti, Simona De Stasio


Background: Stable parent-infant relationships and adequate ordinary care significantly support children’s development since the very early stages of life. Principal models of intervention sustain parental skills and foster quality of parent-infant interactions since the early infancy. Standardized programs, with a well-defined focus, of short duration, based on specific methods and techniques, represent an effective tool in supporting parental effort. The present pilot study provides a description and an initial evaluation of the brief online “Con i Genitori” (CiG) Intervention, aimed to enhance parental sensitivity, self-efficacy and reduce stress in parents of typically-developed children aging 0-6 years.

Methods: The intervention involved parents of typically-developed children aging 0-6 years. Four interactive group sessions, based on well-known empirically-based programs’ assumptions were delivered. Participants were asked to complete questionnaires at baseline (T0) and after CiG (T1). The assessment included the Tool to measure Parenting Self-Efficacy (TOPSE; Kendall & Bloomfield, 2005), Parenting Stress Index-SF for parental distress (PSI; Abidin, 1996), Emotional Regulation Checklist for children’s emotional regulation (ERC; Shields & Cicchetti et al., 1997) and Social Provision Scale for social support (SPS; Cutrona and Russell, 1987). A weekly “ad-hoc” questionnaire evaluated parental sensitivity.  Moreover, a semi-structured interview measured participants’ satisfaction and acceptability with the intervention one month after its end.

Results: Twelve parents completed all the sessions of the CiG (10 mothers, 2 fathers with mean age = 42.7; SD= 6.3). Children mean age was 3.9 (SD=1.9), 58.3% male. Our results showed statistically significant decrease in parental distress and increased social support after attending CiG. No statistically significant variations were detected considering parental self-efficacy.

Conclusions: Our findings confirm the potential value of online-delivered interventions targeting parenthood in infancy, supporting parent-infant relationship and positive parenting from early infancy in a public health community approach. Online delivered programs constitute an important resource for addressing unmet parent mental health needs, which may be particularly widespread following the COVID-19 pandemic, representing a valuable alternative to traditional face-to-face interventions targeting parental wellbeing in infancy.


Positive parenting; Group intervention; Web-delivered intervention.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.13129/2282-1619/mjcp-3794


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