Text Messages to Promote Positive Parenting Behaviors

Last registered on January 04, 2021


Trial Information

General Information

Text Messages to Promote Positive Parenting Behaviors
Initial registration date
December 26, 2020

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
January 04, 2021, 9:15 AM EST

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.



Primary Investigator

Innovations for Poverty Action

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Inter-American Development Bank
PI Affiliation
Innovations for Poverty Action

Additional Trial Information

On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prolonged home confinement as a result of social distancing policies due to COVID-19 can have negative impacts on the wellbeing of children and adults and their child-parent relationships. This study evaluates whether providing text messages with emotional support and information about positive parenting strategies can improve parents' and children's socio-emotional outcomes.

Registration Citation

Hernandez-Agramonte, Juan Manuel, Olga Namen and Emma Naslund-Hadley. 2021. "Text Messages to Promote Positive Parenting Behaviors." AEA RCT Registry. January 04. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.6960
Experimental Details


The text messaging intervention includes tools to help parents cope with the emotional tension and challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and to support their parenting process. This program is targeted to low-income parents with children aged 3-6 years old who are beneficiaries of public childcare services. In addition, we include motivational messages once a week with positive reinforcements to encourage parents to practice positive discipline and spend time with their children. The messages are designed using behavioral tools to correct for inaccurate beliefs, assist them with goal setting and planning and develop a growth mindset for their role as parents.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
We evaluate the effect of the intervention on children's socio-emotional outcomes and parental wellbeing and stress.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Parental wellbeing and stress is captured by parents' self-reported measures. We construct a parental wellbeing index adapting an existing instrument from the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale Revised Online Depression (CESD-R). Likewise, we adapt a parental stress index from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FFCW). Children's socio-emotional outcomes are collected through parents' reports on children's wellbeing and behaviors. We created an index adapted from the existing Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL).

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Parental engagement in educational activities, parental perceptions of their role as caregivers and discipline practices at home.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Parental engagement is measured by an index constructed using parents' reports about the time spend with their children on educational activities and other productive routines and investments. Parental perceptions and discipline practices are captured by parents' self-reported measures.

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Households are randomly assigned into a treatment group that receives the text messaging intervention or a control group that receives placebo messages with information about existing resources from the regular services. All groups receive regular virtual programs from the public childcare services.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
Household level
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
4939 households
Sample size: planned number of observations
4939 households
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
There are 2462 households in the treatment group and 2477 households in the control group.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
According to our calculations, with a probability of error type I of 0.05 and a power equal to 0.8, the minimum detectable effect is 0.0797 SD for each index.

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Innovations for Poverty Action
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials