The Evidence Portal

Self-Directed Triple P

About the program

Self-Directed Triple P (Positive Parenting Program) for mothers with children at-risk of developing conduct problems is a behavioural family intervention program derived from the Triple P program, which is widely used in Australian states and territories for children at risk of developing conduct problems. Self-Directed Triple P is based on social learning principles and its purpose is to promote positive caring relationships between parents and children. Self-Directed Triple P targets coercive family interactions known to contribute to the development and maintenance of children’s disruptive behaviour problems.

The program involves teaching parents 17 core child behaviour management strategies. Ten of the strategies are designed to promote children’s competence and development (e.g. quality time; talking with children; physical affection; praise; attention; engaging activities; setting a good example; “Ask, Say, Do”; incidental teaching; and behaviour charts) and seven strategies are designed to help parents manage misbehaviour (e.g. setting rules; directed discussion; planned ignoring; clear direct instructions; logical consequences, quiet-time; and time-out). In addition, parents are taught a six-step planned activities routine to enhance the generalisation and maintenance of parenting skills (e.g. plan; decide on rules; select engaging activities; decide on rewards and consequences; hold a follow-up discussion).

The program comprises of an initial telephone screening and intake, a parenting text and a workbook. There is no practitioner contact or prompting following the intake. Consistent with Triple P’s overall emphasis on parental self-regulation, parents learn to modify their own behaviour through a process of planned, self-directed change to promote parental self-sufficiency.

See also the following Program Summaries in the Preventing Child Maltreatment Evidence Review:

Who does it work for?

An RCT of the effectiveness of self-directed Triple P was conducted in Australia with a sample of 63 families with a preschool-aged child (Markie-Dadds & Sanders 2006). This reduced to 47 families at program completion. The sample included families who responded to a community outreach campaign. The families were in the mid-range of socioeconomic status. The authors did not report whether there were Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, or CALD participants.

What outcomes does it contribute to?

Positive outcomes:

Dysfunctional discipline strategies: Markie-Dadds and Sanders (2006) demonstrated a statistically significant reduction in the over-reactivity subscale scores on the Parenting Scale in the intervention group. 

Parenting competence: At completion of the program, there was a significant reduction in harsh or authoritarian discipline practices and an increase in satisfaction and efficacy in parenting role in the intervention group, as compared to the waitlist control group.  (Markie-Dadds & Sanders 2006).

No effect:


Negative outcomes:


Is the program effective?

Overall, the program had a positive effect on client outcomes.

How strong is the evidence?

Promising research evidence:

  • At least one high-quality RCT/QED study reports statistically significant positive effects for at least one outcome, AND
  • Fewer RCT/QED studies of similar size and quality show no observed effects than show statistically significant positive effects, AND
  • No RCT/QED studies show statistically significant adverse effects

How is it implemented?

Parents complete a ten-unit self-directed program over ten weeks, in both the home and community settings.

How much does it cost?

Information not available

Where does the evidence come from?

One RCT conducted in Australia with a sample of 63 families with a preschool child, with analysis based on final sample of 47 families who completed the program (Markie-Dadds & Sanders, 2006).

Further resources

  • Markie-Dadds, C., and Sanders, M. R. (2006). Self-Directed Triple P (Positive Parenting Program) for Mothers with Children at-Risk of Developing Conduct Problems. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 34(3), 259–275.
Last updated:

02 Mar 2023

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