A Systematic Review of Help-Seeking Interventions for Parents of Adolescents


Daráine Murphy, University College Dublin, Ireland
Caroline Heary, National University of Galway, Ireland
Marita Hennessy, University College Cork, Ireland
Maeve Dwan O’Reilly, University College Dublin, Ireland
Eilis Hennessy, University College Dublin, Ireland


Parents do not always seek timely help for adolescents when the need arises. Although interventions to increase parental help-seeking have been evaluated and published, no systematic review of these interventions has been conducted. The aim of this systematic review is to collate, synthesise, and evaluate research on help-seeking interventions for parents of adolescents.


Six electronic databases were searched from inception to May 2020 using terms related to the concepts of “parent” and “help-seeking” and focusing on parents of adolescents (aged 10–19 years). Methodological quality was assessed using the Quality Assessment Tool for Quantitative Studies; the Behavioural Change Taxonomy was used to code behavioral change techniques, and “promising interventions” were identified using pre-established criteria.


Eighteen studies met inclusion criteria, with six rated strong for design and methodology. The most frequently identified Behavioural Change Taxonomies included a credible source delivering the intervention, supporting parents, and providing prompts/cues regarding services/appointments. Four interventions were identified as “promising” because of strong methodology, significant positive outcomes, and strong evidence-base.


More high-quality, theory-driven parental help-seeking interventions using common outcome measures are needed to advance the literature in this area. Future research should replicate the promising interventions identified to develop best practice guidelines.

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