The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1753-2000-3-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
KN conceived the study, shared responsibility for the design and was responsible for the data collection, performed the statistical analysis and drafted the manuscript. IE shared responsibility for the design and helped to draft the manuscript. Both authors read and approved the final manuscript.
The aim of the study was to describe families with small children who participated in parent-child interaction interventions at four centres in Sweden, and to examine long term and short term changes regarding the parents' experience of parental stress, parental attachment patterns, the parents' mental health and life satisfaction, the parents' social support and the children's problems.
In this longitudinal study a consecutive sample of 101 families (94 mothers and 54 fathers) with 118 children (median age 3 years) was assessed, using self-reports, at the outset of the treatment (T1), six months later (T2) and 18 months after the beginning of treatment (T3). Analysis of the observed differences was carried out using Wilcoxon's Signed-Rank test and Cohen's d.
The results from commencement of treatment showed that the parents had considerable problems in all areas examined. At the outset of treatment (T1) the mothers showed a higher level of problem load than the fathers on almost all scales. In the families where the children's problems have also been measured (children from the age of four) it appeared that they had problems of a nature and degree otherwise found in psychiatric populations. We found a clear general trend towards a positive development from T1 to T2 and this development was also reinforced from T2 to T3. Aggression in the child was one of the most common causes for contact. There were few undesired or unplanned interruptions of the treatment, and the attrition from the study was low.
This study has shown that it is possible to reach mothers as well as fathers with parenting problems and to create an intervention program with very low dropout levels – which is of special importance for families with small children displaying aggressive behaviour. The parents taking part in this study showed clear improvement trends after six months and this development was reinforced a year later. This study suggests the necessity of clinical development and future research concerning the role of fathers in parent-child interaction interventions.
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- Parents' assessment of parent-child interaction interventions – a longitudinal study in 101 families
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