The effectiveness of parent-child interaction therapy with depressive mothers: The changing relationship as the agent of individual change

Susan Goff Timmer, Lareina K L Ho, Anthony J. Urquiza, Nancy M. Zebell, Erik Fernandez y Garcia, Deanna Boys

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Scopus citations


This study uses a multi-method approach to investigate the effectiveness of Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) in reducing children's behavior problems when parents report clinical levels of depressive symptoms. Participants were 132 children, 2-7 years of age, and their biological mothers, who either reported low (N = 78) or clinical levels of depressive symptoms (N = 54). Results showed that depressive mothers were likely to report more severe child behavior problems than non-depressive mothers at the pre-treatment assessment, but that depressive mothers reported greater reductions in child behavior problems than non-depressive mothers from pre- to post-treatment. The two groups showed similar levels of observed interaction quality at the pre-treatment assessment (i.e., parent and child emotional availability and parent verbalization patterns) and similar improvements in interaction quality from pre- to post-treatment. The implications of the findings for clinical practice were discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)406-423
Number of pages18
JournalChild Psychiatry and Human Development
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2011



  • Maternal depression
  • Parent-child interaction therapy
  • Treatment outcomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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