An evaluation of parent-child interaction therapy with and without motivational enhancement to reduce attrition
Date of this Version
Although many interventions for child externalizing behavior report promising outcomes for families, high attrition prior to program completion remains a problem. Many programs report dropout rates of 50% or higher. In this trial we sought to reduce attrition and improve outcomes by augmenting a well-known evidence-based intervention, Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), with a 3-session individual motivational enhancement component. Participants were 192 Australian caregivers (91.7% female; Mage = 34.4 years) and their children (33.3% female; Mage = 4.4 years). Families (51% referred from child welfare or health services for risk of maltreatment) were assigned to PCIT or a supported waitlist, with families assigned to PCIT receiving either standard PCIT (S/PCIT) or motivation-enhanced PCIT (M/PCIT), depending on their time of entry to the study. Waitlist families received phone calls every week for 12 weeks. Parents in M/PCIT reported more readiness to change their behavior from preassessment to after the motivation sessions. Also, parents who reported high, rather than low, motivation at preassessment did have a lower attrition rate, and there was some evidence that enhancing motivation was protective of premature attrition to the extent that caregivers achieved a high degree of change in motivation. Yet comparison of attrition rates and survival analyses revealed no difference between M/PCIT and S/PCIT in retention rate. Finally, there were greater reductions in externalizing and internalizing child behavior problems and parental stress among families in S/PCIT and M/PCIT compared with waitlist, and there was generally no significant difference between the two treatment conditions.
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