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Jeffrey Balser, M.D., Ph.D.

‘Play nicely’ program showing results

BY: JESSICA ENNIS

11/03/2006 - A recent study has found that the Play Nicely program created at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt is helping parents manage childhood aggression.

Seth Scholer, M.D., associate professor of Pediatrics, is first author of the study, published in the November issue of Clinical Pediatrics, as well as creator of the 30-minute multi-media Play Nicely program.

Sixty-five parents of children 6- to 18-months who came to one of two pediatrician's offices for a well-child visit participated in the study. The program, which teaches the basics in childhood aggression management, was viewed independently at each participant's home.

“We chose this young age range because the program is a population-based prevention program and we wanted to introduce it before problem behaviors usually occur,” Scholer said.

One year after viewing the program, parents were asked, “Do you feel that the CD program was helpful in managing aggressive behavior in your child?”

Sixty five percent of parents who watched the program said that it helped them manage aggression with their own child. Twenty-eight percent were uncertain, 7 percent disagreed and no one strongly disagreed.

“Many parents had recommended the program to others,” Scholer said. “To our knowledge, this is the first study to find that a brief, office-based intervention can help parents manage one of the strongest risk factors for violence — early childhood aggression.”

Scholer said he hopes the program can be studied not only within the health care system, but also in other locations such as daycares and preschools.

“Many questions still need to be answered, including whether brief programs such as Play Nicely can have any long-term effect on parents' discipline strategies and on children's negative behaviors,” he said.

Play Nicely can be viewed in the Junior League Family Resource Center in the Children's Hospital. For more information, visit www.playnicely.org.

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