Accumulating evidence for parent-child interaction therapy in the prevention of child maltreatment

Rae Thomas*, Melanie J. Zimmer-Gembeck

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

116 Citations (Scopus)


In a randomized controlled trial, the effectiveness of Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) and correlates of maltreatment outcomes were examined. Mothers (N = 150) had a history or were at high risk of maltreating their children. After 12 weeks and compared to waitlist, PCIT mothers were observed to have improved parent-child interactions and reported better child behavior and decreased stress. At PCIT completion, improvements continued and mothers reported less child abuse potential and had improved maternal sensitivity. Also, PCIT completers were less likely to be notified to child welfare than noncompleters. Finally, those families not notified post-PCIT showed greater reductions in child abuse potential and improvements in observed sensitivity during treatment. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-192
Number of pages16
JournalChild Development
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

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