Positive Family Intervention Project

College of Arts & Sciences
USF St. Petersburg Dav 100
140 Seventh Avenue South,
St. Petersburg Florida 33701
Phone: 727-873-4156

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The page was last updated
12/17/2009 .

Department of Psychology


Our Mission

The Positive Family Intervention Project is a research study that was designed to evaluate two approaches to parent education, both of which have been proven to be effective in improving children's behavior. Parents participating in this study learned to deal with their children's behavior more positively and effectively. 


Project Conclusion

We recently concluded this important five-year research study investigating the addition of optimism training to parent education in positive behavior support. Our project looked at the impact of helping parents become more optimistic about their own parenting skills as well as their child’s ability to change on the severe challenging behaviors of their children. We not only teach families the skills to better understand and treat their child’s challenging behavior, we also help them become aware of their thoughts and feelings about themselves and their child and how these might interfere with success. In our work with the parents of children with autism spectrum disorders and challenging behavior we find that many are “pessimistic.” Someone who is highly pessimistic might describe a child’s difficult trip to the supermarket this way – “Shopping with my child is a disaster”.  On the other hand, parents who are more optimistic might describe it this way – “My child is not ready yet for long shopping trips.”  We present pessimistic families with their styles of describing situations and have them practice more adaptive optimistic styles (Durand, Hieneman, Clarke, & Zona, 2009). Click here for more.




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