A Preliminary Evaluation of the 1-2-3-Magic Parenting Program in an Australian Community Services Setting

Renata Porzig-Drummond*, Richard J. Stevenson, Caroline Stevenson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Cognitive-behavioural parenting programs provide caregivers with alternative strategies to harsh disciplining practices but the choice of programs that are evidence-based in Australia is limited. Australian community service workers suggest that having a choice of evidence-based programs is important when matching programs to client needs, and that 1-2-3 Magic is a program used widely in Australia despite its small Australian evidence base. The efficacy of the 1-2-3 Magic program has previously been shown in a controlled trial in an Australian university research setting but little is known about its effectiveness in a “real-world” setting. This study examined a three-session group-format of the Australian 1-2-3 Magic & Emotion Coaching program in a typical metropolitan community service setting. Thirty-eight caregivers with children aged 2–6 years reported a significant decrease in disruptive child behaviour (ECBI), permissive parenting (PS), and parental depression and stress (DASS) from pre- to post-intervention, with results maintained at 3-month follow-up. While these findings suggest that a brief 1-2-3 Magic program is beneficial, it is important to note that methodological limitations (intervention-group only study design and possible confounding variables) do not allow ruling out alternative causes for these improvements. Further research will be needed to confirm that this program can generalise to “real-world” settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)388-402
Number of pages15
JournalAustralian Social Work
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016


  • Children
  • Community Services
  • Early Intervention
  • Evidence-based Practice
  • Family Support
  • Prevention

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