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Enhancing Social-Emotional Health and Wellbeing in the Early Years (E-SEE): a study protocol of a community-based randomised controlled trial with process and economic evaluations of the incredible years infant and toddler parenting programmes, delivered

20 Dec 2018


Behavioural and mental disorders have become a public health crisis and by 2020 may surpass physical illness as a major cause of disability. Early prevention is key. Two Incredible Years (IY) parent programmes that aim to enhance child well-being and development, IY Infant and IY Toddler, will be delivered and evaluated in a proportionate universal intervention model called Enhancing Social-Emotional Health and Wellbeing in the Early Years (E-SEE) Steps. The main research question is: Does E-SEE Steps enhance child social emotional well-being at 20 months when compared with services as usual?

Methods and analysis

E-SEE Steps will be delivered in community settings by Early Years Children’s Services and/or Public Health staff across local authorities. Parents of children aged 8 weeks or less, identified by health visitors, children’s centre staff or self-referral, are eligible for participation in the trial. The randomisation allocation ratio is 5:1 (intervention to control). All intervention parents will receive an Incredible Years Infant book (universal level), and may be offered the Infant and/or Toddler group-based programme/s—based on parent depression scores on the Patient Health Questionnaire or child social emotional well-being scores on the Ages and Stages Questionnaire: Social Emotional, Second Edition (ASQ:SE-2). Control group parents will receive services as usual. A process and economic evaluation are included. The primary outcome for the study is social emotional well-being, assessed at 20 months, using the ASQ:SE-2. Intention-to-treat and per protocol analyses will be conducted. Clustering and hierarchical effects will be accounted for using linear mixed models.

Ethics and dissemination

Ethical approvals have been obtained from the University of York Education Ethics Committee (ref: FC15/03, 10 August 2015) and UK NHS REC 5 (ref: 15/WA/0178, 22 May 2015. The current protocol is Version 9, 26 February 2018. The sponsor of the trial is the University of York. Dissemination of findings will be via peer-reviewed journals, conference presentations and public events.

Trial registration number

ISRCTN11079129; Pre-results.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in BMJ Open