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Parent to Parent: A Synthesis of the Emerging Literature

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Parent-to-parent programs,


Krista Kutash, PhD


Parent-to-parent programs can serve as a base of support for parents in a multitude of situations. Most commonly, parent-to-parent programs serve parents of children with emotional and behavioral disorders and children with physical disabilities or chronic health problems. Learning about their child’s disorder, the services available to them, and coping with family stress can be extremely difficult for most parents. Parent-to-parent programs offer supports to these parents by matching them with parents who understand the stress by virtue of shared experience (i.e., have a grown or older child with the same or similar disorder), and can offer experience-based advice for coping with daily demands.

This literature review attempts to provide a synthesis of the emerging literature pertaining to parent-to-parent support. The purpose of this review is twofold: (1) to uncover any evidence of the effectiveness of parent-to-parent support; and (2) to examine the concepts, constructs, and key elements of parent-to-parent that should be considered when designing a program (i.e., case management, training, and contact methods).


Robbins, V., Johnston, J., Barnett, H., Hobstetter, W., Kutash, K., Duchnowski, A. J., & Annis, S. (2008). Parent to parent: A synthesis of the emerging literature. Tampa, FL: University of South Florida, The Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute, Department of Child & Family Studies.