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"Why Don't You Act Like This at Home?!" Parent and Child Reactivity During In-Home Dyadic Parent-Child Interaction Coding System (DPICS) Coded Observations




Thornberry, Timothy, Jr.

Type of Degree





The field of clinical child psychology has campaigned for evidence-based practice, with specific initiatives including the dissemination of evidence-based treatments and the development of evidence-based assessment guidelines. More work is needed in expanding the empirical literature regarding evidence-based assessment. This is especially true of analog behavior observations (ABOs). A specific threat to the external validity of ABOs is the potential reactivity participants may experience. This study sought to support the external validity of the Dyadic Parent-Child Interaction Coding System (DPICS), an ABO used to measure parent-child interactions, and pilot a parent-report measure of parent and child reactivity. Twenty-seven parent-child dyads participated in DPICS observations either in the home or clinic setting, and parents completed a new measure of parent and child reactivity: the TORQ. Results showed that behavioral differences did occur for both parents and children across observation settings, but these differences were not entirely accounted for by reactivity. However, TORQ scales did predict significant amounts of variance in DPICS composite scores of parent and child prosocial behavior and child compliance during various segments of the DPICS. Limitations, implications, and future directions in research are discussed. This study highlights the importance of considering reactivity when gathering observational data and offers a potential solution for documenting this reactivity.