Long-Term Primary And Secondary Effects Of A Parent Training Project

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


This investigation was conducted to determine the long-term effectiveness of training (Parent Training Program in Preprimary Behavioral Competence (Bensen & Truss, 1979)) to enhance children's language and cognitive abilities, and also to assess possible diffusion of training to siblings nearest in age to the target children. Relation of home environment and maternal intelligence to children's development also were examined. The original 33 month program taught parents of newborns timely and appropriate experiences to provide their infants to avoid cognitive deficits.Fifty-three Experimental (E) and 45 Control (C) mothers and their children from the original 307 socio-economically disadvantaged families were relocated and interviewed. The Caucasian Hispanic and non-Hispanic children ranged from 47 to 94 months of age, mean age of 73 months. Bilingual examiners evaluated 98 target children and 52 next younger or older siblings on several age-appropriate language and cognitive scales. Maternal intelligence and home environment also were assessed.Maternal intelligence and home environment were significantly correlated with each other and with nearly all developmental scales. Both accounted for a significant proportion of variance in children's test scores after controlling for demographic variables via multiple regression analyses. Differences between E and C groups were significant on four developmental scales for children under 72 months of age. E children declined on all scales prior to entering school, then improved, while C children were below the E group until 72 months, then improved to reduce group differences below significance. Younger E siblings performed significantly better than younger C siblings, supporting a diffusion effect for younger but not older siblings.The results support the effectiveness of the program until early schooling essentially equalizes the groups. Explanations for the decline in E children's scores include the absence of guided parent training beyond 36 months, the lack of formal preschool for the child beginning at about 36 months, or the inability of preschooling to maintain the cognitive gains of the children. The gradual decline in E group scores to 72 months, and the improvement seen thereafter in the early school years support a need for the provision of appropriate preschooling beginning at about 36 months to maintain the cognitive and language advantages effected by the parent training.


Psychology, Experimental

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