|Ineffective parenting skills, poor knowledge of child development, rigidity, and harsh physical punishment have been identified as risk factors for abuse and child disruptive behavior. Due to the long-term negative consequences of child maltreatment and behavior disorders on child functioning prevention is needed. Primary prevention program developers posit that pre-parenthood is an ideal time for training to prevent child maltreatment. Child and family-focused researchers suggest that by increasing effective
parenting the likelihood of childhood disruptive behavior disorders and child maltreatment can be reduced; however no published studies have investigated the use of a pre-parent training intervention to increase parenting knowledge and use of effective parenting behaviors in undergraduate non-parents. The current study examined the influence that exposure to a pre-parent education module based on PCIT principles has on students’ knowledge and use of effective behavioral parenting skills as measured by scores on a PCIT content quiz developed by the researcher and the Dyadic Parent-Child Interaction Coding System – 3rd edition with a sample of 300 undergraduate non-parents aged 19 to 25. A subsample of students participated in an analog DPICS CDI observation that required them to play with an undergraduate research assistant role-playing a three-year-old child. Participants were instructed to follow the “child’s” lead and play the role of parent ¬¬¬during the observation. The hypothesis that exposure to the pre-parent education module would result in significant increase in scores on PCIT content quiz was supported. The hypothesis that exposure to the pre-parent education module would result in significant increase in the frequency of praise, reflection and behavior description during the role play observation was partially supported. The hypothesis that exposure to developmental psychology course material would result in significant increase in knowledge of child development was partially supported. Implications of the current study and future directions are discussed.