Methods: A pre-post feasibility study was conducted in FYR Macedonia, Republic of Moldova, and Romania. Parents of children aged 2-9 years reporting elevated levels of child behavior problems were recruited (N = 140) to participate in the PLH for Young Children program, a 12-week, group-based, evidence-informed parenting intervention developed for implementation in LMIC. The sample recruited were reporting a number of disadvantages including elevated levels of maternal depressive symptoms, economic strain with approximately half experiencing hunger in the past month. A portion of the sample also had difficulty reading. Feasibility outcomes around recruitment, engagement, implementation, and barriers were examined as well as pre-post measures for child behavior, parenting, and parental mental health.
Results: Recruitment was ultimately successful with all three countries recruiting above the target sample size of 40 families using a range of different recruitment methods. There were some recruitment challenges reported and even though each country delivered four groups of the PLH program, implementation differed between countries with two delivering the 12-session version and one the six-session version. Program engagement rates varied between countries with higher levels in FYR Macedonia. The program content and aspects of delivery were acceptable in all three countries. Pre-post results will also be reported.
Conclusions: The PLH for Young Children program was successfully implemented in three LMIC in South-eastern Europe. The results of the feasibility study will be used to inform the next phase of the larger project, the Optimization phase, which will aim to test different components of the program to identify the most efficacious, affordable, and scalable combination.