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Global guidelines emphasize the critical role of responsive caregiving in terms of reducing violence against children and promoting early childhood development. However, there is an absence of global evidence synthesis on the effects of early childhood parenting programs for children with developmental disabilities. This systematic review and meta-analysis aims to investigate the effectiveness of parenting interventions delivered for preschool-age children with developmental disabilities in reducing violence against children, altering violence-related factors, and promoting child development. We searched for randomized controlled trials with inactive control. Estimates were pooled using robust variance estimations. Meta-regressions were conducted to explore sources of heterogeneity. In all, 33 studies met the inclusion criteria. The results showed that parenting programs improved child behavior, parental mental health, parenting practices, parental self-efficacy, parent-child interaction, child language skills, and child social skills post-intervention. No studies provided data on the actual occurrence of violence against children. Effects might vary by diagnosis, delivery modality, and world region. The findings supported the delivery of parenting programs to alter factors associated with violence against children and promote child language and social skills for families of young children with developmental disabilities, especially attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism, intellectual disability, and language disorders. More research using rigorous methods, long-term follow-ups, and transparent reporting is needed, particularly within more low- and middle-income countries.

Original publication




Journal article


Trauma Violence Abuse

Publication Date



developmental disabilities, early childhood development, parenting intervention, violence against children