A brief play intervention to improve synchronous interactions and play skills in low income mother-child dyads.

Rebecca Montgomery Crotwell, Maria Hernandez-Reif, Mary Liz Curtner-Smith


Interaction synchrony defines how well a parent and child relate, with lower levels of synchrony associated with poor child outcomes. A 10-minute Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) was tested in a pre-posttest design for improving interactional synchrony in 40 low-income mothers and preschool children (Half of the mothers watched a child nutrition video and served as a control group). As a group, the mother-child synchrony levels were low-to-average. Mothers in the PCIT group were taught five skills (PRIDE) to use when playing with their children: praise, reflect, imitate, describe, enthusiasm. The PRIDE group improved in interactional synchrony, whereas the control group did not. Mothers in the PRIDE group also used more child-directed techniques and their children were coded as offering their mothers toys more frequently. The findings suggest that a brief intervention may improve the interactional synchrony of low-income mothers and their preschool children, which may enhance preschool age children’s social skills.


low-income, preschool children, synchrony, play, interaction

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