Program Factsheet

Triple P – Positive Parenting Program

The Triple P – Positive Parenting Program (Triple P) is a multilevel, parenting and family support system designed to prevent severe behavioral, emotional, and developmental problems in children by enhancing the knowledge, skills, and confidence of parents. The Triple P system provides parents with easy-to-implement, proven parenting solutions that help them solve current parenting problems and prevent additional problems before they arise. By offering several types, intensities, and modes of parenting and family support, the Triple P system creates multiple access points and formats for parents to receive support tailored to their specific needs and desires. At the same time, the Triple P system is organized to maximize efficiency, contain costs, and ensure the program has wide community reach by incorporating five levels of intervention on a tiered continuum of increasing strength and narrowing focus. As such, interventions in the Triple P system range from broad interventions targeting entire communities to intensive interventions targeting only high-risk children. Parents therefore receive the right amount of intervention needed while allowing program providers to focus diversely across entire communities.


  • Family

Developmental Phases

  • Infancy and Toddlerhood
  • Early Childhood
  • Childhood

Related Constructs


Key Links

Triple P America
Physical Address: 1205 Lincoln Street • Columbia, SC 29201 Mailing Address: PO Box 12755 • Columbia, SC 29211 Telephone: (803) 451.2278 Fax: (803) 451.2277 General Inquiries Email:

How it Operates

Triple P interventions are a form of behavioral family intervention based on social learning principles and drawing from current research in the fields of child and family behavior therapy, applied behavior analysis, parenting in everyday contexts, social information processing, developmental psychopathology, and population/public health. The Triple P system is organized into multiple levels of intervention strategies that correspond to the level of parents' needs and/or the severity of a child’s problems.

Level 1 Triple P, or Universal Triple P, targets all parents in a community with a coordinated media and health promotion campaign that normalizes the need for parenting support, encourages access to parenting interventions, and provides general information about parenting and child development. Universal Triple P may use electronic and print media strategies, such as community service announcements, radio spots, newspaper and magazine articles, and television strategies. Universal Triple P strategies are usually coordinated by area media liaison officers or mental health or welfare staff. Universal Triple is only used in conjunction with the other levels of Triple P and never as a stand-alone program.

Level 2 Triple P interventions, including Selected Triple P, target parents interested in parenting education or with specific concerns about their child’s development or behavior. Level 2 interventions may involve parenting seminars or one ot two brief parent consultations with a provider from primary care services or other community health or education agencies. General health promotion information and specific advice for discrete child developmental concerns or minor behavioral problems are offered through Level 2 Triple P interventions.

Level 3 Triple P interventions, including Primary Care Triple P, target not only parents with specific concerns about their child’s development or behavior, but also those who may need active skills training. Level 3 interventions typically involve 4 parent consultations lasting about 20 minutes each with a provider from primary care services or other community health or education agencies, and combine advice, skills learning and rehearsal, and self-evaluation to teach parents to manage a discrete child behavior problem.

Level 4 Triple P interventions, including Standard Triple P, Group Triple P, and Self-Directed Triple P, target parents who want intensive training in positive parenting strategies, including, but not limited to, parents of children with disruptive behavior problems. Level 4 interventions typically include about 10 hours of intervention across 8 to 10 sessions with a mental, behavioral, welfare, or allied healthcare professional and focus broadly on parent-child interactions, skill learning and rehearsal, and the application of positive parenting skills to a broad range of problem behaviors across varied settings. Stepping Stones Triple P, for parents of preschoolers with disabilities who have or are at risk for developing severe behavioral or emotional problems, is also offered as a Level 4 Triple P intervention.

Level 5 Triple P offers the most intensive and targeted Triple P interventions. Enhanced Triple P targets parents of children with behavior problems and concurrent severe family stressors (such as parental depression, severe parental stress, or conflict between partners). Pathways Triple P targets parents who have a history of, or are at high risk for, child maltreatment. This is accomplished by addressing anger management problems and other factors associated with child abuse. Both Enhanced Triple P and Pathways Triple P are designed as intensive modules for use in conjunction with specific Level 4 Triple P interventions, and are typically administered by professionals involved with intensive family intervention work, such as mental, behavioral, and welfare staff.

Training Required

Triple P America offers provider training and accreditation across all levels of the Triple P system. Training courses are formatted either for individual practitioners or for larger scale adoption of Triple P within organizations. Courses are offered for individual Triple P interventions as well as select combinations of Triple P interventions and take place in two parts: initial training days, which vary in length from 1 to 5 days depending on the course or courses being covered, plus half-day provider accreditation sessions approximately 2 months after the initial training days. Providers receive practitioner/facilitator kits during training, including a practitioner/facilitator manual and other materials required to deliver selected Triple P programming. Additional materials, including parent workbooks for use when delivering Triple P programming to families, are available from Triple P America subsequent to training and accreditation. Materials are offered in English and Spanish. Some Triple P training courses require previous training in Triple P interventions. For more information on training and materials, including current cost information, contact Triple P program administrators (803-451-2278; or view the Triple P training web pages (training for organizations or training for individual practitioners).

Sampling of Key References Supporting Evidence Base for the Program

  1. de Graaf, I., et al. (2008). Effectiveness of the Triple P positive parenting program on behavioral problems in children: a meta-analysis. Behavior Modification, 32, 714-730.  

  2. Bor, W., et al. (2002). The effects of the Triple P-Positive Parenting Program on reschool children with co-occurring disruptive behavior and attentional/hyperactive difficulties. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 30, 571-587.  

  3. Foster, E. M., Prinz, R. J., Sanders, M. R., & Shapiro, C. J. (2008). The cost of a public health infrastructure for delivering parenting and family support. Children and Youth Services Review, 30, 493-501.  

  4. Mihalopoulos, C., Sanders, M.R., Turner, K.M.T., Murphy-Brennan, M., & Carter, R. (2007). Does Triple P-Positive Parenting Program provide value for money? Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 41, 239-246.  

  5. Prinz, R. J., et al. (2009). Population-based prevention of child maltreatment: The U.S. Triple P System Population Trial. Prevention Science, 10, 1-12.  

  6. Sanders, M. R. (1999). Triple P-Positive Parenting Program: Towards and empirically validated multilevel parenting and family support strategy for the prevention of behavior and emotional problems in children. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 2, 71-90  

  7. Sanders, M. R. (2008). Triple P-Positive Parenting Program as a public health approach to strengthening parenting. Journal of Family Psychology, 22, 506-517.