Parent-Child Interaction Therapy: Application to maltreating parent-child dyads

Susan Goff Timmer, Anthony J. Urquiza, Nancy M. Zebell, Jean M. McGrath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

125 Scopus citations


Objective: Parent-Child Interaction Training (PCIT), which uses a social learning framework, is a dyadic intervention that is designed to alter specific patterns of interaction found in parent-child relationships. Previous research suggests that maladaptive and high-risk characteristics found in maltreating parent-child dyads may be responsive to PCIT. The primary focus of this study is to examine the effectiveness of PCIT with maltreating parent-child dyads. Methodology: This study describes the effectiveness of PCIT with 136 biological parent-child dyads in which 66.9% (N = 91) of the children had been maltreated. Of the 91 maltreated children, 64.8% (N = 59) of the parents had maltreated their children, and were thus considered to be at high risk of repeating the abuse. Results: Primary outcomes of this study show the following: (1) a decrease in child behavior problems, (2) a decrease in parental stress, and (3) a decrease in abuse risk from pre- to post-treatment for dyads with and without a history of maltreatment. Conclusions: Our results add to the body of research supporting PCIT as a promising intervention and as a means to aid both children and parents in high-risk families for maltreatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)825-842
Number of pages18
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2005


  • Child maltreatment
  • Parent-Child interaction
  • Therapy
  • Treatment outcomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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