The Effectiveness and Transportability of Group Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) with Community Families
Type of DegreeDissertation
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Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) is a behavioral intervention that incorporates both operant learning and play therapy techniques to treat child disruptive behavior problems. Efficacy research indicates that PCIT reduces parent reports of children’s disruptive behavior, parenting stress, and maternal psychosocial distress. In addition, PCIT has been shown to increase observed prosocial behaviors and to decrease observed inappropriate behaviors for both parents and children. Recently, researchers have begun to investigate the use of PCIT with alternative populations and in alternative formats. However, to date, little systematic research exists examining the effectiveness and transportability of PCIT, especially as it relates to the group format. The proposed study sought to examine the potential effectiveness and transportability of group PCIT with a sample of 27 caregiver-child dyads from Lee and Macon Counties in Alabama. Across group sessions, caregivers reported a decrease in child behavior problems regardless of whether they completed treatment. In addition, caregivers who completed treatment (n=16) reported a significant decrease in child behavior problems and in their own levels of parenting stress after completing the group. Parenting stress levels pre-treatment were positively related to reported improvement in child behavior problems, in that caregivers who reported higher levels of parenting stress prior to starting group also reported greater levels of improvement in their children's behavior. Despite these findings, however, there were no observed differences in caregiver and child behavior when comparing pre- and post-treatment dyadic interactions. Implications of the present study as well as directions for future research are discussed.