Using Behavioral Insights for Parental Engagement: The Parents and Children Together Intervention
Last registered on August 17, 2015

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Using Behavioral Insights for Parental Engagement: The Parents and Children Together Intervention
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0000804
Initial registration date
August 17, 2015
Last updated
August 17, 2015 7:03 PM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
University of Chicago
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
University of Chicago
PI Affiliation
University of Chicago
PI Affiliation
University of Toronto
Additional Trial Information
Status
Completed
Start date
2014-07-10
End date
2015-05-10
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Research shows that cognitive development in early childhood is best
promoted if parents create learning opportunities for their children in the
home environment. In particular, reading aloud to children has many
benefits. Unfortunately, many young low-income children in the U.S. are
not read to on a regular basis. Many parents find it challenging to carve
out time each day to engage with their children in educational activities,
and parents’ busy lives make it hard to create and stick to a routine of
reading and other learning activities.

The PACT Study is a six-week experimental intervention developed for
English and Spanish-speaking parents with children enrolled in Head
Start programs in Chicago. Participating parents borrow an electronic
tablet with an application called A Story Before Bed, a recordable
storybook app with over 500 books in its digital library. The parents who
are randomly assigned to the experimental group set weekly goals for
the amount of time they intend to spend reading a book from the digital
library to their children and receive daily text message reminders
reminding them of their goals. At the end of each week, experimental
group parents receive visual feedback on the actual time they spent
reading in the prior week via a goal-setting app on the tablet. Finally,
experimental group parents receive personal recognition on the tablet
for meeting their weekly time-use goals in addition to recognition among
their peers via group text messaging. Control group parents receive the
tablet with A Story Before Bed and instructions for how to use it but
none of the behavioral “nudges” (i.e., the goal setting, text-message
reminding, feedback, or recognition).
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Gallegos, Sebastian et al. 2015. "Using Behavioral Insights for Parental Engagement: The Parents and Children Together Intervention." AEA RCT Registry. August 17. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/804/history/5037
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
The PACT Study is a six-week experimental intervention developed for
parents with children enrolled in Head Start programs in Chicago.
Participating parents borrow an electronic tablet that has a recordable
storybook app with over 500 books in its digital library. The parents who
are randomly assigned to the experimental group set weekly goals for
the amount of time they intend to spend reading to their children and
receive daily text message reminders reminding them of their goals. At
the end of each week, experimental group parents receive visual
feedback via an app on the tablet on the actual time they spent reading
in the prior week. Finally, experimental group parents receive personal
recognition in a digital format on the tablet for meeting their weekly time use
goals in addition to recognition among their peers via group text
messaging. Parents assigned to the control group, in contrast, receive
the tablet with the storybook app and instructions for how to use it but
none of the behavioral “nudges” (i.e., the goal setting, text-message
reminding, feedback, or recognition).
Intervention Start Date
2014-10-10
Intervention End Date
2015-05-10
Outcomes
Outcomes (end points)
Time spent by parents reading with their children
Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Parents whose primary language was either English or Spanish, who had a child enrolled in one of eight subsidized preschool program in Chicago, Illinois, who were willing to sign a consent form and a pledge to borrow, safeguard, and return an electronic tablet at the end of the program were eligible for the intervention. They were randomized to either treatment or control groups within the eight subsidized preschool program in Chicago.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer. All parents had an ID; those with an even number went to the treatment group.
Randomization Unit
parents within schools.
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
no clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
200 parents
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
100 parents to control, 100 parents to treatment
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Social and Behavioral Sciences Institutional Review Board (SBS-IRB) at the University of Chicago.
IRB Approval Date
2013-11-24
IRB Approval Number
IRB13-1385
Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
No
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers