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A Behavioral and Educational Treatment to Improve Adolescent Mothers Supervision and Home Safety Practices With Their Young Children
Gulotta, Charles S. III
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Injury is the leading cause of death and disabilityamong American children, and most injuries to children aged 1-5 years occur at home. Factors associated with increased risk for unintentional injury to young children include an overcrowded home environment, low SES, and living with a mother who is young, less educated, more emotionally overwhelmed, and less protective in her supervision, attributes characteristic of many adolescent mothers. Previous research suggests that teaching parents basic child behavior management techniques can reduce child dangerous behavior (Mathews, et al., 1987; Powers & Chapieski, 1986), but these interventions have not addressed the lack of knowledge about child development common among adolescent parents. The current study employed a multiple-baseline design across subjects to assess the impact of a 6-week in home educational and behavioral treatment. Observable home hazards, supervisory skill, maternal efficacy, parenting stress, and cognitive readiness to parent were examined in four adolescent mothers (aged 16-19), in addition to the dangerous behavior of their children (aged 16-24 months). Mothers received education about child development and sensitive parenting, as well as training in home safety and child behavior management. Child dangerous behavior and maternal supervisory skill and positive behavior were assessed in weekly 20-minute videotaped mother-child interactions. Pre- and post- measures of parenting stress, cognitive readiness to parent, and maternal efficacy related to parenting and child safety were assessed by self-reports. Treatment resulted in improvements in mother positive behavior and knowledge of child development and in reductions of parenting stress, observable home hazards, and child dangerous behavior. A 2-month follow-up revealed some minimal maintenance of treatment gains suggesting additional booster sessions are needed for longer-term gains of reduced injury risk.
- Doctoral Dissertations