Adapting Parent-Child Interaction Therapy to Foster Care: Outcomes From a Randomized Trial

Mersky, J.P., Topitzes, J., Grant-Savela, S., Brondino, M., McNeil, C. (2014). Adapting parent-child interaction therapy to foster care: Outcomes from a randomized trial. Research on Social Work Practice.

This study presents outcomes from a randomized trial of a novel Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) model for foster families. Differential effects of two intervention doses on child externalizing and internalizing symptoms are examined.

A sample of 102 foster children was assigned to one of three conditions—brief PCIT, extended PCIT, or wait-list control. The brief and extended groups received 2 days of PCIT training and 8 weeks of telephone consultation. The extended PCIT group received an additional booster training plus 6 more weeks of consultation. Wait-list controls received services as usual. Tests of change over time were estimated using mixed-model repeated measures analysis of covariance.

Compared to controls, children in both PCIT groups exhibited a greater reduction in externalizing and internalizing scores over time. Pairwise contrasts of the two PCIT conditions yielded mixed results.

Results indicate that PCIT can be tailored efficaciously for foster families using alternative treatment modalities.

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