Relations among Parents' Attributions, Affect, and Behaviors in the Context of Evocative Parent-Child Interactions
Ball, Shellene Marie
The efficacy of Behavioral Parent Training (BPT) for treating child conduct problems is well-documented. There are nonetheless, however, several significant limitations with BPT including effect sizes that generally are in the small to moderate range, and certain sub-groups for whom the efficacy of BPT appears relatively limited. There may be a variety of factors underlying these limitations, one of which may be that parental affective reactions during challenging parent-child interactions interfere with parents’ motivation or ability to implement the newly learned adaptive parenting behaviors. There have been a few attempts to modify BPT to address the limitations mentioned above, but to date no studies have focused on how the recently learned parenting behaviors are influenced by parental affective reactions to challenging child behaviors. To provide an empirical foundation for modifications to increase the efficacy of BPT, the proposed study will assess relations among parent affect, parent behavior, and child behavior problems, under evocative parent-child interactions (i.e., interactions wherein the child’s behavior likely is aversive to the parent) and non-evocative interactions. Specifically, the study will determine (a) whether the quality of parenting behaviors deteriorates during evocative vs. non-evocative parent-child interactions, (b) whether parental affective responses to challenging child behaviors are correlated with child behavior problems, (c) whether parenting behaviors during evocative situations are more highly correlated with child behavior problems than parenting behaviors during non-evocative situations , and (d) whether there is a hierarchy of parental factors influencing parents’ behavior toward their children, such that situation-specific factors are more highly related to parenting and child behaviors than are trait-like factors.