Parent Management Training – The Oregon Model

Updated: Jan 12, 2018
Evidence Rating:
Near Top Tier


  • Program:

    A parent training program for recently-separated, single mothers with sons aged 6-10.

  • Evaluation Methods:

    A well-conducted randomized controlled trial (RCT) with a sample of 238 single mothers and their sons.

  • Key Findings:

    Sons of women in the program group had substantially fewer arrests over nine years (an average of 0.76 arrests per boy in the PMTO group versus 1.34 per boy in the control group).

  • Other:

    (i) These findings apply to the version of PMTO for separated, single mothers with young boys, as opposed to other versions of PMTO. (ii) A study limitation is that its sample was geographically concentrated in one mid-sized Oregon city. Replication of these findings in a second trial, in another setting, would be desirable to confirm the initial results and establish that they generalize to other settings where the program might be implemented.

Parent Management Training – the Oregon Model (PMTO) is a manualized1 parent training program for recently-separated single mothers with sons aged 6-10.2 The program consists of 14 weekly meetings with groups of approximately ten mothers, each led by a pair of trained female staff whose degree levels range from high school diploma to Ph.D. Children do not attend the meetings, and the program does not directly intervene with them.

The meetings teach five core parenting practices: appropriate, non-coercive discipline (e.g., setting limits, following through, reinforcing prosocial behavior); skill encouragement (e.g., breaking tasks such as homework into achievable steps); monitoring; problem solving; and positive involvement. They also teach skills tailored to divorcing women, including (i) emotional regulation (e.g., recognizing negative emotions, and practicing techniques to help regulate them); (ii) managing inter-parental conflict (e.g., through problem solving and negotiation); and (iii) addressing children’s divorce-related concerns (e.g., through active listening, problem solving, and recognizing and managing emotions).

In addition, the program includes a 30-minute videotape, showing families using effective parenting practices to help their children adjust to the divorce. Between meetings, content is reinforced through home practice assignments and mid-week phone calls providing homework support.

The program’s cost is $1,089-$1,634 per family, in 2017 dollars. (This does not include the cost of training and certifying the staff who lead the group meetings.3)

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1 Forgatch, Marion. Parenting Through Change: A Training Manual.” Oregon Social Learning Center, 1994.

2 Other versions of PMTO serve families – including two-parent families – with children of either gender exhibiting conduct problems (e.g., aggression, delinquency, and substance use).

3 The cost of training and certifying staff is about $19,165 per staff person, plus an annual cost of about $3,700 per staff person for ongoing coaching and recertification to maintain faithful program implementation. These costs of training staff would presumably be spread over the many program participants they work with.

Click here to go to PMTO’s website.

Main Study:

Beldavs, Zintars, Marion Forgatch, Gerald Patterson, and David DeGarmo. “Reducing the Detrimental Effects of Divorce: Enhancing the Parental Competence of Single Mothers. In N. Heinrichs, K. Haalweg, and M. Dopfner, Strengthening Families: Evidence-based Approaches to Support Child Mental Health, 2006, pp. 143–185.

DeGarmo, David, Gerald Patterson, and Marion Forgatch. “How Do Outcomes in a Specified Parent Training Intervention Maintain or Wane Over Time?” Prevention Science, 2004, vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 73-89.

DeGarmo, David, and Marion Forgatch. “Early Development of Delinquency Within Divorced Families: Evaluating a Randomized Preventive Intervention Trial.” Developmental Science, 2005, vol. 8, no. 3, pp. 229-239.

Forgatch, Marion, and David DeGarmo. “Accelerating Recovery from Poverty: Prevention Effects for Recently Separated Mothers.” Journal of Early and Intensive Behavioral Intervention, 2007, vol. 4, no. 4, pp. 681-702.

Forgatch, Marion, and David DeGarmo. “Parenting Through Change: An Effective Prevention Program for Single Mothers.” Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 1999, vol. 67, no. 5, pp. 711-24.

Forgatch, Marion, Gerald Patterson, David DeGarmo, and Zintars Beldavs. “Testing the Oregon delinquency model with 9-year follow-up of the Oregon Divorce Study.” Development and Psychopathology, 2009, vol. 21, no. 2, pp. 637-60.

Martinez, Charles, and Marion Forgatch. “Preventing Problems With Boys’ Noncompliance: Effects of a Parent Training Intervention for Divorcing Mothers.” Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 2001, vol. 69, no. 3, 416-28.

Patterson, Gerald R., Marion S. Forgatch, and David S. DeGarmo. “Cascading effects following intervention.” Development and Psychopathology, 2010, vol. 22, pp. 949-970.

Other References:

Bjørknes, Ragnild, Reidar Jakobsen, and Ane Naerde. “Recruiting ethnic minorities to evidence-based parent training. Who will come and how?” Children and Youth Services Review, 2011, vol. 33, no. 2, pp. 351-357.

Bjørknes, Ragnild, John Kjøbli, Terje Manger, and Reidar Jakobsen. “Parent training among ethnic minorities: Parenting practices as mediators of change in child conduct problems.” Family Relations, 2012, vol. 61, pp. 101-114.

Bjørknes, Ragnild and Terje Manger. “Can parent training alter parent practice and reduce conduct problems in ethnic minority children? A randomized controlled trial.” Prevention Science, 2013, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 52-63.

Bullard, Lisha, Marissa Wachlarowicz, Jamie DeLeeuw, James Snyder, Sabina Low, Marion Forgatch, and David DeGarmo. “Effects of the Oregon Model of Parent Management Training (PMTO) on Marital Adjustment in New Stepfamilies: A Randomized Trial.” Journal of Family Psychology, 2010, vol. 24, no. 4, pp. 485-496.

DeGarmo, David, and Marion Forgatch. “Efficacy of Parent Training for Stepfathers: From Playful Spectator and Polite Stranger to Effective Stepfathering.” Parenting: Science and Practice, 2007, vol. 7, no. 4, pp. 331-355.

Forgatch, Marion. Parenting Through Change: A Training Manual.” Oregon Social Learning Center, 1994.

Forgatch, Marion and Gerald Patterson. “Parent Management Training – the Oregon Model: An Intervention for Antisocial Behavior in Children and Adolescents.” In John Weisz and Alan Kazdin, Evidence-Based Psychotherapies for Children and Adolescents, 2010, pp. 159-178.

Hagen, Kristine Amlund, Terje Ogden, and Gunnar Bjørnebekk. “Treatment Outcomes and Mediators of Parent Management Training: A One-Year Follow-Up of Children with Conduct Problems.” Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 2011, vol. 40, no. 2, pp. 165-178.

Kjøbli, John and Terje Ogden. “A randomized effectiveness trial of Brief Parent Training in primary care settings.” Prevention Science, 2012, vol. 13, no. 6, pp. 616-626.

Parenting Through Change. National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices, 2012.

Sigmarsdóttir, Margaret, David S. DeGarmo, Marion S. Forgatch, and Edda Vikar Guðmundsdóttir. “Development and aging: Treatment effectiveness of PMTO for children’s behavior problems in Iceland: Assessing parenting practices in a randomized controlled trial.” Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 2013, vol. 54, pp. 468–476.