Parenting for Lifelong Health SUPER (Scale-Up of Parenting Evaluation Research) Study

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Funded by: The PLH SUPER study is supported by the ERC under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (Grant Agreement No. 737476 and No. 771468), Research England, UKRI GCRF Accelerating Achievement for Africa’s Adolescent Hub (Grant Ref: ES/S008101/1), and the National Research Foundation of South Africa (Grant Ref: 118571).

Start date: May 2019

End date: ongoing

Parenting for Lifelong Health SUPER (Scale-Up of Parenting Evaluation Research) Study

Parenting for Lifelong Health

WHO’s INSPIRE: Seven Strategies for Ending Violence Against Children, which forms part of the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children, recommends parenting programs as a core component of preventing abuse. Parenting for Lifelong Health (PLH) is an initiative of researchers from the Global South and North, the WHO, UNICEF, and NGO implementing partners who are focused on improving parenting. Over the past decade, it has carefully developed and tested in randomised controlled trials a suite of freely available parenting programs for low-resource settings. Two of these programmes are PLH for Young Children for children aged 2- to 9-years-old and PLH for Teens for children aged 10- to 17-years-old. These programmes aim to prevent violence against and by children, to improve child wellbeing, and to improve positive parenting capacity. They also represent some of the programs with the most evidence of effectiveness in low- and middle-income countries.  

The SUPER Study

Positive results from the studies of PLH sparked major interest from international agencies and governments to plan scale-up. An unprecedented scale-up of these programmes is currently taking place throughout Africa as well as in East Asia, Eastern Europe and the Caribbean, with major partners including national governments, UNICEF, Catholic Relief Services/4Children, World Education’s Bantwana Initiative and Pact. However, we currently only have a tiny number of studies on the effectiveness of any parenting programs outside the high-income world. The evidence-base is currently only from South Africa, with studies forthcoming in the Philippines, Thailand, Uganda, Moldova, North Macedonia and Romania. Evidence from randomised trials is of great value for testing causal pathways of effectiveness, but we also need more programmatic evidence in order to understand questions such as the most effective implementation approaches, impacts of combined programs, and add-on modules.

Over 20 low- and middle-income countries will be scaling up PLH for Young Children and PLH for Teens within the next two years. This is an unprecedented opportunity to collect and combine monitoring and evaluation (M&E) data that can bring forward the evidence-base for prevention of violence against children.

The SUPER study is led by researchers from the Universities of Oxford, Cape Town, Stellenbosch and Glasgow together with international agencies and implementing partners. The study will be conducted from 2019 to 2022. It is a unique study examining the scale-up of parenting programmes across multiple contexts. It will allow testing of whether families with key vulnerabilities (such as affected by HIV/AIDS, poverty, or political violence) benefit more, less or differently to other families. It also provides the opportunity to examine issues related to programme implementation and scale-up, such as barriers/facilitators of attendance and quality of delivery, and how they might differ across contexts. As a result, the implications of this research for policy and practice are likely to be incredibly powerful and useful.


Main research questions

  1. What is the extent of PLH implementation and take up by implementing partners?
  2. How is it implemented, what are the predictors of implementation, and what are the barriers and facilitators of quality implementation?
  3. What is the “effectiveness” of PLH when implemented as part of routine service delivery? Do programmes maintain effectiveness in comparison to RCT results?
  4. How does programme implementation and effectiveness vary from context to context?
  5. How are PLH programmes maintained and what are some of the constraints to programme sustainability, including human and financial resource constraints?


Co-Principal Investigators

·      Professor Lucie Cluver (Dept. of Social Policy and Intervention, Oxford University & Dept. of Psychiatry and Mental Health, University of Cape Town)

·      Professor Catherine Ward (Dept. of Psychology, University of Cape Town)

·      Dr Jamie M. Lachman (Dept. of Social Policy and Intervention, Oxford University & MRC/CSO Social & Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow)



·      Professor Frances Gardner (Dept. of Social Policy and Intervention, Oxford University)

·      Professor Mark Tomlinson (Dept. of Psychology, Stellenbosch University)

·      Dr Inge Wessels (Dept. of Social Policy and Intervention, Oxford University & Dept. of Psychology, University of Cape Town)

·      Dr Yulia Shenderovich (Dept. of Social Policy and Intervention, Oxford University)

·      Dr Daniel Oliver (Catholic Relief Services)




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Countries implementing Parenting for Lifelong Health

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