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Psychology of Parenting Project

The Psychology of Parenting Project (PoPP) is aimed at improving the availability of high-quality evidence-based parenting programmes for families with young children who have elevated levels of behaviour problems.

PoPP-ing evidence-based parenting programmes into children's services in Scotland

Psychology of Parenting Project - IncredibleYears ® Storyboard for Parents

Psychology of Parenting Project - The PoPP Triple P ® Storyboard for Parents

Psychology of Parenting Project: Driving Prevention and Transformation

Background Information

  • About 10% of young children have elevated levels of behavioural difficulty that place them at risk of a range of poor outcomes.

  • Effective interventions exist to help the majority of these children to grow up more successfully. These are the highest quality evidence-based parenting programmes, namely the Incredible Years® and Level 4 Group Triple P®. 

  • These relatively brief, group-based parenting programmes are highly cost-effective.

  • Since 2013 a national implementation scheme, PoPP, has been ensuring that these interventions are delivered, with fidelity to the advantage of the most appropriate families in Scotland.

  • PoPP is funded through the Mental Health Division and is hosted within NHS Education for Scotland.



What has been achieved through the PoPP scheme so far?


Number of Community Planning Partnerships that have adopted the PoPP model


Number of multi-sector Early Years’ practitioners who have been fully-trained, equipped, and supported to deliver one of these carefully-selected parenting programmes with fidelity


Number of children whose parents have enrolled in PoPP-supported groups


% of children whose parents scored them (on a standardised tool - the Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire), as having “high-risk” levels of behavioural difficulty at the start of the group, who moved out of this range by the time their parents stopped attending their groups




What is the PoPP Initiative now offering?

To maximise these positive outcomes and the associated preventive spending gains by:

  • consolidating the improved workforce and organisational capacity that has been achieved in existing sites
  • initiating a series of improvement projects aimed mainly at improving the reach of these parenting programmes
  • helping new CPPs adopt a slightly-modified version of the PoPP model



Changes to the PoPP model for PoPP 2 sites

In line with a key lesson from the Implementation Science literature, PoPP is a data-driven system. In addition to helping services to track their local progress with implementation and child outcomes, national data is analysed and used to guide changes in the model. For those CPPs starting to adopt the PoPP model from 2016 onwards, the following three changes have been introduced:

1. The age range of children whose parents are eligible to attend PoPP-supported groups will be extended to include children aged 3-6. This is in line with the most recent research showing that children within this age range benefit most from the intervention.

2. Rather than aiming within the first year of implementation to quickly build capacity so that each site can offer this intervention to the full 10% of children who could benefit from it, a staged approach will be offered. In most cases, this will mean that new PoPP sites will start by building their capacity to deliver to 40% of their target population in the first year. The pace of future expansion will be determined by the progress made.

3. There will no longer be an expectation that capacity will be based on a one-third Incredible Years/two-thirds Triple P split. Instead, each new PoPP site are being invited to indicate which of these two programmes they wish to adopt, and in what proportion they wish to have them delivered in their localities. These preferences will be taken into account when the PoPP team is finalising an implementation plan with each site.


Changes to the PoPP model for PoPP-On sites

12 CPP's have indicated enthusiasm for continuing to work with the PoPP team to build sustainability around these parenting programmes for parents of children with early onset conduct difficulties. These PoPP-On sites will also be introducing the following changes:

  • Age range (3-6 years).

  • Choice over which programme and in which proportion they elect to deliver long term.

They will also be working on various improvement projects, particularly focusing on increasing recruitment and retention levels of parents attending the groups that continue to run.


 PoPP Briefing Paper

 Click here to access the most recent PoPP Briefing Paper from September 2019.


For further information, please contact