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The effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the Incredible Years® Teacher Classroom Management programme in primary school children: results of the STARS cluster randomised controlled trial

  • Tamsin Ford (a1), Rachel Hayes (a1), Sarah Byford (a2), Vanessa Edwards (a1), Malcolm Fletcher (a1), Stuart Logan (a1), Brahm Norwich (a3), Will Pritchard (a4), Kate Allen (a1), Matthew Allwood (a1), Poushali Ganguli (a2), Katie Grimes (a5), Lorraine Hansford (a1), Bryony Longdon (a1), Shelley Norman (a6), Anna Price (a1) and Obioha C. Ukoumunne (a7)...
Abstract
Background

We evaluated the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the Incredible Years® Teacher Classroom Management (TCM) programme as a universal intervention, given schools’ important influence on child mental health.

Methods

A two-arm, pragmatic, parallel group, superiority, cluster randomised controlled trial recruited three cohorts of schools (clusters) between 2012 and 2014, randomising them to TCM (intervention) or Teaching As Usual (TAU-control). TCM was delivered to teachers in six whole-day sessions, spread over 6 months. Schools and teachers were not masked to allocation. The primary outcome was teacher-reported Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) Total Difficulties score. Random effects linear regression and marginal logistic regression models using Generalised Estimating Equations were used to analyse the outcomes. Trial registration: ISRCTN84130388.

Results

Eighty schools (2075 children) were enrolled; 40 (1037 children) to TCM and 40 (1038 children) to TAU. Outcome data were collected at 9, 18, and 30-months for 96, 89, and 85% of children, respectively. The intervention reduced the SDQ-Total Difficulties score at 9 months (mean (s.d.):5.5 (5.4) in TCM v. 6.2 (6.2) in TAU; adjusted mean difference = −1.0; 95% CI−1.9 to −0.1; p = 0.03) but this did not persist at 18 or 30 months. Cost-effectiveness analysis suggested that TCM may be cost-effective compared with TAU at 30-months, but this result was associated with uncertainty so no firm conclusions can be drawn. A priori subgroup analyses suggested TCM is more effective for children with poor mental health.

Conclusions

TCM provided a small, short-term improvement to children's mental health particularly for children who are already struggling.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Corresponding author
Author for correspondence: Prof Tamsin Ford, E-mail: T.J.Ford@exeter.ac.uk
References
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