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

Project outline


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 programmes 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 programmes 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 18-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, and Pact. However, we currently only have a tiny number of studies on the effectiveness of any parenting programmes outside the high-income world. The evidence-base is currently from South Africa, Philippines, and Thailand, with forthcoming randomised controlled trials in 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 have now scaled up PLH for Young Children and PLH for Teens. This is an unprecedented opportunity to collect and combine monitoring and evaluation (M&E) and research 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 2024. 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 process and extent of dissemination of PLH programmes?
  2. How are the PLH programmes adapted and implemented in various contexts? What are the factors associated to implementation outcomes?
  3. What is the impact of PLH at scale on family-level outcomes?
  4. What are the barriers and facilitators to sustainment of PLH programmes?
  5. What are the costs and resources needed for PLH delivery in different contexts?


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)

·      Dr Yulia Shenderovich (Wolfson Centre for Young People's Mental Health and Centre for the Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement, Cardiff University & Dept. of Social Policy and Intervention, Oxford University)


·      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 Daniel Oliver (Catholic Relief Services)

·      Dr Hlengiwe Sacolo (Dept. of Psychology, University of Cape Town)

·      Dr Kufre Okop (Dept. of Psychology, University of Cape Town)


Map indicating countries in which PLH programmes are implemented

Map indicating countries in which PLH programmes are implemented