Psychology, Department of


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Prevention Science (2022) 23:321–339.


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Prevention programs are a key method to reduce the prevalence and impact of mental health disorders in childhood and adolescence. Caregiver participation engagement (CPE), which includes caregiver participation in sessions as well as follow-through with homework plans, is theorized to be an important component in the effectiveness of these programs. This systematic review aims to (1) describe the terms used to operationalize CPE and the measurement of CPE in prevention programs, (2) identify factors associated with CPE, (3) examine associations between CPE and outcomes, and (4) explore the effects of strategies used to enhance CPE. Thirty-nine articles representing 27 unique projects were reviewed. Articles were included if they examined CPE in a program that focused to some extent on preventing child mental health disorders. There was heterogeneity in both the terms used to describe CPE and the measurement of CPE. The majority of projects focused on assessment of caregiver home practice. There were no clear findings regarding determinants of CPE. With regard to the impact of CPE on program outcomes, higher levels of CPE predicted greater improvements in child and caregiver outcomes, as well as caregiver-child relationship quality. Finally, a small number of studies found that motivational and behavioral strategies (e.g., reinforcement, appointment reminders) were successful in promoting CPE. This review highlights the importance of considering CPE when developing, testing, and implementing prevention programs for child mental health disorders. Increased uniformity is needed in the measurement of CPE to facilitate a better understanding of determinants of CPE. In addition, the field would benefit from further evaluating strategies to increase CPE as a method of increasing the potency of prevention programs.

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