Grow! Research

Grow! aims to foster child and family readiness and resiliency by enhancing positive parenting practices, stress management and coping skills, and child physical health promotion strategies. Grow! program development was guided by two complementary processes. First, a common components analysis (CCA) of existing evidence-based parenting programs that target the elementary years was conducted. A CCA is a process in which the individual practices or techniques of a program (e.g., natural consequences, deep breathing) are identified in the hopes of discovering those components that are shared across programs (Chorpita, Daleiden, & Weisz, 2005). This practical approach to program development can help summarize a vast amount of information by detecting patterns and can be a useful tool in deciding which techniques or strategies to include in the development of a new program.

Second, a systematic review of the health promotion literature was conducted to identify best practices that parents could employ to promote their child’s physical health and wellness. This review was important for two reasons. First, as with all THRIVE program areas, Grow! asserts that health promotion is a parenting skill that needs to be addressed in order to maximize child development. Second, health promotion is not currently emphasized in evidence-based parenting programs, so this program area was not thoroughly covered by the CCA.

An initial evaluation of the Grow! program in two communities in Central Pennsylvania was conducted in 2015. The program was implemented by trained facilitators at each location. Twenty-six individuals began the program, and 20 individuals attended four or more sessions. The evaluation focused on implementation and treatment outcomes. Analyses of the implementation data showed that 99 percent of participants were satisfied with the facilitator’s delivery across all weeks, and 80 percent described their satisfaction with the program during focus group discussions. Participants also found the program useful, and more than half stated the curriculum was the most helpful part of each session. Results also demonstrated that the Grow! curriculum was delivered as designed with a 94 percent adherence rating. Further, 93 percent of participants reported high engagement, 75 percent attended all five sessions, and 91 percent reported frequent skill usage.

Analyses of the treatment data revealed statistically significant (p < .05) improvement from pretest to posttest on measures of parenting stress, emotion coaching, parental encouragement of coping, and child outdoor playtime with some effects maintained at three- and six-month follow-ups. Several measures of parenting attitudes and behaviors (e.g., discipline styles) approached significance (p < .10) and likely would have achieved significance with a larger sample. Effect sizes were in the small to moderate range, which suggests Grow! has the potential to impact participants and their families in meaningful ways.


Chorpita, B. F., Daleiden, E. L., & Weisz, J. R. (2005). Identifying and selecting the common elements of evidence based interventions: A distillation and matching model. Mental Health Services Research, 7, 5-20.

Grow! papers & presentations:

Materia, F., Miller, E., Runion, M., Chesnut, R., Irvin, J., Richardson, C., & Perkins D. (2016). Let’s get technical: Enhancing program evaluation through the use and integration of internet and mobile technologies. Evaluation and Program Planning, 56, 31-42.

Materia, F., DiNallo, J., Chesnut, R., McCarthy, K., Bryan, M., & Perkins, D. (2016). Assessing the feasibility and acceptability of a multicomponent parenting program. Poster presented at 37thAnnual Meeting and Scientific Sessions of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, Washington, D.C.

Materia, F., Miller, E, Runion, M, Chesnut, R, Irvin, J., Richardson, C., & Perkins, D. (2015). Let’s get technical: Enhancing program evaluation through the use and integration of technologies. Paper presented at 23rd Annual Society for Prevention Research Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C.

Materia, F., Chesnut, R., & DiNallo, J. (2015). Managing basic EMA and EMI methodologies within a single user interface. Poster presented at 4thBiennial Society for Ambulatory Assessment Conference, University Park, PA.

Czymoniewicz-Klippel, M., Chesnut, R., DiNallo, J., & Perkins, D. (2015). Identifying common components of effective parenting programs: The THRIVE experience. Poster presented at the 8th Annual Conference on the Science of Dissemination and Implementation, Washington, D.C.

Czymoniewicz-Klippel, M., DiNallo, J., Chesnut, R., & Perkins, D. (2016). A feasibility study of the Grow! parenting program for military families: Evaluating & adapting implementation strategies. Poster presented at the 9th Annual Conference on the Science of Dissemination and Implementation, Washington, D.C.

Chesnut, R., DiNallo, J., Czymoniewicz-Klippel, M., & Perkins, D. (2016). The Grow! parenting program: A hybrid type III study. Poster presented at the 9th Annual Conference on the Science of Dissemination and Implementation, Washington, D.C.