Parent training education program: a pilot study, involving families of children with Prader-Willi syndrome



Introduction. Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is a rare genetic disorder characterized by severe hypotonia during the neonatal period and the first two years of life, the onset of hyperphagia with a risk of obesity during infancy and adulthood, learning difficulties and behavioral or severe psychiatric problems. This complex disease has severe consequences and difficult management issues also for patients’ families. Parents of children with PWS need appropriate psychoeducational intervention in order to better manage their children with PWS. The purpose of this study was the implementation and evaluation of a PWS psychoeducational parent training program. Methods. The Italian National Center for Rare Diseases implemented a pilot parent training program offered to parents of children with PWS. The intervention’s effects was evaluated using questionnaires comprised of 11 items rated on a 7 point Likert scale. Results. The intervention was offered to 43 parents. The behavior problems management, dietary restrictions, autonomy and relationships were indicated by parents as the priority topics which needed to be addressed. Evaluations, immediately post-intervention and after 6 months, were reported by parents, fulfilling specific questionnaires. 90% of parents involved in the study, appreciated the methodology, 86% felt more informed about PWS, 47-62% felt more capable to better approach behaviour’s problems, 20-25% felt better about the child’s health situation and future expectations. Feeling more capable to help the child autonomy and relationships were reported in 62% and 63% of parents respectively, which decreased significantly (p < 0.05) according to the evaluation 6 months after the intervention. Younger age of parents (< 44 years of age) was significantly correlated with better understanding on how to help the child’s autonomy (OR: 0.05; CI: 0.04-0.8) and to better collaborate with the child’s teachers (OR: 0.02; CI: 0.001-0.9). Conclusion. Parent training is a promising intervention for parents of children with behavior’s problems. Interventions with a behaviorally oriented program, addressed to parents of PWS affected children, is a useful tool in increasing their ability to manage the problems related to the disease.


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Yllka Kodra

Loreta A Kondili

Alessia Ferraroni

Maria Antonietta Serra

Flavia Caretto

Maria Antonietta Ricci

Domenica Taruscio

How to Cite
Kodra, Y., Kondili, L. A., Ferraroni, A., Serra, M. A., Caretto, F., Ricci, M. A., & Taruscio, D. (2016). Parent training education program: a pilot study, involving families of children with Prader-Willi syndrome. Annali dell’Istituto Superiore Di Sanità, 52(3), 428–433. Retrieved from
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