Helping Families Help Themselves: ∗ the (Un)Intended Impacts of a Digital Parenting Program

77 Pages Posted: 23 May 2022

See all articles by Sofia Amaral

Sofia Amaral

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) - Ifo Institute

Lelys Dinarte

World Bank

Patricio Dominguez

Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

Santiago M. Perez-Vincent

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)

Abstract

Parenting practices play a crucial role in child development. We evaluate the impact of a free digital stress management and positive parenting intervention designed to reduce the prevalence of child maltreatment in El Salvador. Drawing on the prior success of in-person interventions, we study the effects of digital intervention delivery and examine differential treatment effects by caregiver’s sex. Using an individuallevel experiment, we find that the intervention increased stress and anxiety and lowered caregiver-child interactions among male caregivers. In contrast, among female caregivers, we did not detect changes in mental health but observed a decrease in physical violence against children. While these findings differ from results of in-person interventions, they align with theories that link economic deprivation and family structure to caregivers’ cognitive overload and mental health.

Keywords: Mental Health, positive parenting, parental stress, child maltreatment

Suggested Citation

Amaral, Sofia and Dinarte, Lelys and Dominguez, Patricio and Perez-Vincent, Santiago M., Helping Families Help Themselves: ∗ the (Un)Intended Impacts of a Digital Parenting Program. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4117066 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4117066

Sofia Amaral

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) - Ifo Institute ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, 01069
Germany

Lelys Dinarte

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Patricio Dominguez (Contact Author)

Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile ( email )

Av Libertador General Bernardo O'Higgins 340
Santiago, Región Metropolitana 8331150
Chile

Santiago M. Perez-Vincent

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) ( email )

1300 New York Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20577
United States

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