Successful Therapist–Parent Coaching: How In Vivo Feedback Relates to Parent Engagement in Parent–Child Interaction Therapy

Miya L. Barnett, Larissa N. Niec, Samuel O. Peer, Jason F. Jent, Allison Weinstein, Patricia Gisbert, Gregory Simpson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Although behavioral parent training is considered efficacious treatment for childhood conduct problems, not all families benefit equally from treatment. Some parents take longer to change their behaviors and others ultimately drop out. Understanding how therapist behaviors impact parental engagement is necessary to improve treatment utilization. This study investigated how different techniques of therapist in vivo feedback (i.e., coaching) influenced parent attrition and skill acquisition in parent–child interaction therapy (PCIT). Participants included 51 parent–child dyads who participated in PCIT. Children (age: M= 5.03, SD = 1.65) were predominately minorities (63% White Hispanic, 16% African American or Black). Eight families discontinued treatment prematurely. Therapist coaching techniques during the first session of treatment were coded using the Therapist–Parent Interaction Coding System, and parent behaviors were coded with the Dyadic Parent–Child Interaction Coding System, Third Edition. Parents who received more responsive coaching acquired child-centered parenting skills more quickly. Therapists used fewer responsive techniques and more drills with families who dropped out of treatment. A composite of therapist behaviors accurately predicted treatment completion for 86% of families. Although group membership was correctly classified for the treatment completers, only 1 dropout was accurately predicted. Findings suggest that therapist in vivo feedback techniques may impact parents’ success in PCIT and that responsive coaching may be particularly relevant.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)895-902
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2 2017


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