Parenthood video program discourages physical punishment

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SAN DIEGO – A video program designed to improve parent-child interactions while reading and playing also reduces spanking and slapping, new research shows.

“By bringing parent and child closer together, we reduced parents’ sense that they needed to engage in physical punishment,” said Alan Mendelsohn, MD, of NYU School of Medicine and Bellevue Hospital Center in New York.

It is important to reduce corporal punishment. Research has shown it’s associated with poor outcomes, including aggression and mental health issues, said Dr Mendelsohn Medscape Medical News.

He presented the results of the Video Interaction Project here at the 2015 Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting.

The 325 mothers involved in the study were recruited after childbirth and the mother-child pairs were randomized into one of two intervention groups or into a control group that received no intervention.

In the video intervention group, mothers were recorded interacting with their children during play or while reading aloud, and a trained interventionist then reviewed the recording with each mother and offered advice for improving performance. interactions.

In the non-video intervention group, mothers received monthly newsletters, learning materials, and developmental surveys.

Only 39.4% of the mothers in the study had completed high school and 92.6% of the cohort was Hispanic.

At 6 months, positive parenting behavior was assessed in all women using the StimQ Cognitive Home Environment test. At 14 and 24 months, corporal punishment was assessed with the Socolar Discipline Survey.

Improve the parent-child bond

At 24 months, the incidence of corporal punishment reported by mothers was lower in the video group than in the control group (75.0% vs. 84.7%; odds ratio [OR], 0.54; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.30 – 0.97).

This reduction was mediated by positive parental behaviors (regression coefficient B, -0.11; standard error, 0.06; P <.05>

There was no difference in physical punishment between the non-video group and the control group.

“This is one of the first demonstrations I can think of in which an intervention designed to improve the quality of parent-child interaction in play resulted in less aversive discipline on the part of the parent,” said Robert Needlman. , MD, from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, who attended the presentation.

“It’s a wonderful validation of what we think we understand about how parent-child relationships work,” he said. Medscape Medical News.

The results are encouraging, agreed Kofi Essel, MD, of the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC.

However, “they did not show how the effect size compares to other techniques trying to reduce corporal punishment,” he said. Medscape Medical News. “I think we need to see more of a comparison before we can take a bigger leap.”

Dr Essel said he believed such a program might be a challenge to implement due to time constraints. “From what I’ve seen, it would need some adjustments before it could easily fit into a busy primary care practice,” he explained.

Dr Mendelsohn, Dr Needlman and Dr Essel did not disclose any relevant financial relationship.

2015 Annual Meeting of Academic Pediatric Societies (PAS): Summary 2145.8. Presented April 26, 2015.

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