Child & Youth Care Forum

, Volume 42, Issue 1, pp 71–85 | Cite as

An Attachment Parenting Intervention to Prevent Adolescents’ Problem Behaviors: A Pilot Study in Italy

  • Fabrizia Giannotta
  • Enrique Ortega
  • Håkan Stattin
Original Paper



In spite of the proven effectiveness of parenting based programs to prevent adolescent risk behaviors, such programs are rarely implemented in Mediterranean countries.


This pilot study was aimed at assessing the feasibility and the effects of a parenting based universal prevention program (Connect) in Italy.


Our sample comprised 147 mothers and 147 youths, aged 11–14 (M = 12.46, SD = .72). We adopted a quasi-experimental design. Forty percent of the parents in the sample were in the intervention condition (receiving 10 one hour lessons a week). ANCOVAs and Cohen’s d coefficients were used to compute intervention effects.


The results showed that, despite difficulty in recruiting parents, the program held promising effects regarding the prevention of alcohol use at a universal level (Cohen’s d = .55); the intervention also marginally decreased the level of non-empathic answers from parents, at least in the short term (Cohen’s d = .32).


This study highlighted the importance of focusing on families to prevent problem behaviors in adolescence. It also points to the need for new strategies to engage parents in universal prevention.


Parenting intervention Tobacco use Alcohol use Early adolescence Attachment 



The research was supported by a Marie Curie Intra European Fellowship to the lead author within the confines of the 7th European Community Framework Programme. We would like to thank Professor Marlene Moretti for her valuable supervision during implementation of the intervention.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fabrizia Giannotta
    • 1
  • Enrique Ortega
    • 2
  • Håkan Stattin
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Developmental ResearchÖrebro UniversityÖrebroSweden
  2. 2.Laboratory of Developmental Psychology, Department of PsychologyUniversity of TurinTurinItaly

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