OPEC Evaluation

The funders of OPEC partner with Oregon State University (OSU) to develop a systematic approach to support the initiative through evaluation. Additionally, the OSU team conducts research related to the parenting initiative. OPEC Annual Reports can be found here. References for selected publications and presentations are featured below:


Finders, J. K., Diaz, G., Geldhof, G. J., Sektnan, M., & Rennekamp, D. (2016). The Impact of parenting education on parent and child behaviors: Moderators by income and ethnicity. Children and Family Service Review, 71, 199-209. DOI: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2016.11.006

Parenting education has emerged as a promising resource for supporting parents, but the relative impact of parenting education among families facing higher versus lower risk remains unclear.  The present study explored the effects of participating in an evidence-based parenting education series and examined whether those effects were moderated by families’ socio-demographic contexts (income level and ethnicity status).  Results indicated that parenting education series serving predominantly lower-income parents resulted in greater improvements in parents’ parenting skills and their children’s behaviors compared to series serving higher-income parents.  Attending a parenting series with a higher proportion of Latino parents also significantly predicted greater improvements in child behaviors, but not parent skills.  These findings provide preliminary evidence that parenting education may be most effective when it targets underserved populations. The findings further highlight the importance of continuing to explore the influence of parenting education adapted for low-income and Latino families to inform the design of evidence-based programs.

Nott, B. D., Peters, C. L., Sektnan, M., Rennekamp, D., Bowman, S., & Manoogian, M. M. The Parenting Skills Ladder: Providing evidence of parenting education outcomes. Manuscript in preparation.

Community-based parenting education can promote well-being and buffer negative outcomes for children by strengthening the parenting of their caregivers. A valid, reliable, and convenient instrument that evaluates parenting education outcomes is needed by professionals that work with families, especially in community contexts. The Parenting Strengths Ladder (PSL) was designed to measure changes in parenting with a diverse population and may be used with a variety of parenting education curricula. Data on the PSL were from 2,525 adults involved in community-based parenting education from 2010 to 2013. Psychometric properties were investigated on before and after scores of the retrospective-style PSL, including exploratory factor analyses, Cronbach’s alphas, regression analyses, t-tests, and ANOVAs for comparison groups. Results showed the PSL measuring one cohesive construct, structural invariance among sample subsets, and parenting changes as predictive of child behavior changes. Post-hoc comparisons of parental groups revealed greater gains for lower income, Hispanic, and male participants.

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Sektnan, M., Tominey, S., & Lewis, K. (2017, November). The Oregon Parenting Education Collaborative: Impacts on Positive Parenting. Poster presented at the Nation Council on Family Relations Conference, Orlando, Florida.

This study examines data collected from 9,444 parents who participated in parenting education series as part of the Oregon Parenting Education Collaborative from 2010-2016. Paired t-tests were used to examine changes in self-reports of positive parenting using the Parenting Skills Ladder, a retrospective measure. ANOVAs were used to examine change scores based on demographic factors (e.g., gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status). Results found that parents across groups reported significant increases in positive parenting with differential effects found for subgroups. Findings underscore the importance of expanding access to parenting education and using curricula that are responsive to community and cultural needs.

Sektnan, M., & Tominey, S. (2016, November). Supporting children and families through parenting education: Findings from the Oregon Parenting Education Collaborative (OPEC). Poster presented at the OSU Extension Service Annual Conference, Corvallis, Oregon.

OPEC has significantly expanded the number of parenting education opportunities in counties with Parenting Education Hubs. Through OPEC Hubs and Programming grants, 17,984 parents have participated in 20,167 classes as part of 1,950 multi-week parenting series. In addition, 6,270 new families have been reached through home visits, and 429,335 families have participated in a total of 17,252 family programs. Families report significant improvement in parenting knowledge, skills, and behaviors as well as significant improvement in their child’s behavior after participating in parenting education class series. OPEC Hubs have also expanded the capacity of communities to provide parenting education to families through training an additional 974 facilitators across communities, leveraging $19.5 million in new funds and in-kind support, and creating partnerships with the Department of Human Services, faith-based programs, schools, and CCOs.

Finders, J., Geldhof, G. J., Sektnan, M., & Rennekamp, D. (2015, April). The effect of parenting education on parent and child behavior: The moderating role of income and ethnicity. Poster presented at the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) Biennial Meeting, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The effects of parenting education have been primarily studied using Caucasian samples, however; few studies have explored the impact of parenting education on culturally diverse families. The present study therefore had two objectives: 1) to replicate the finding that parenting education improves children’s behavior in low-income families more than non-low-income families, and 2) to explore whether these effects vary as a function of parent ethnicity. Previous research suggests that parenting interventions are especially effective for improving low-income children’s problem behaviors.

Harmon, B., Diaz, G., Hatfield, B., Rennekamp, D., & Sektnan, M. (2015, April). Perceptions of parenting knowledge and behaviors: Latino parents in parenting education programs. Poster presented at the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) Biennial Meeting, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The influence of positive and effective parenting skills on children’s developmental outcomes has been well established (Brooks-Gunn & Markman, 2005; Carter and Kahn, 1996; Debord & Matta, 2002), and parenting education programs (PEPs) are a promising mechanism to improve parenting skills and promote positive, effective parenting (Family Strengthening Policy Center, 2007; Moore, Caal, Rojas & Lawner, 2014).  However, less research has focused on the influence of these programs for Latino parents, who generally face additional barriers to access community resources and programs (Moreno & Valencia, 1999; Olivos, 2006). The present study employed quantitative and qualitative methodologies to investigate three research questions: 1) What are the background characteristics of Latino parents who participate in PEP in rural Oregon? 2) How does participating in a PEP influence parents’ perceptions of their parenting knowledge and behaviors? 3) How does participating in a PEP influence parents’ perceptions of their child’s behaviors?

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