Intervention effects on reflectivity explain change in positive parenting in military families with young children.

Military families with young children often experience stress related to the unique circumstances of military families (e.g., deployment), and there is a need for interventions that are specifically tailored to military families with young children. The Strong Military Families (SMF) intervention responds to this need, and consists of two versions: A Multifamily Group (N = 34), and a Homebased psychoeducational written material program (N = 42; treated as the comparison group in this report). The Multifamily Group utilized an attachment-based parenting education curriculum and in vivo support of separations and reunions, encouraged peer support among parents, and connected families to additional services. In the present nonrandomized trial, we examine intervention effects on observed parenting behavior and affect, and test whether changes in parenting reflectivity account for intervention-related changes in observed parenting. Observed parenting behavior and affect were coded from the Caregiver-Child Structured Interaction Procedure (Crowell & Fleischmann, 1993), and parenting reflectivity was coded from the Working Model of the Child Interview (Zeanah & Benoit, 1995). Results suggest that relative to Homebased participants, Multifamily Group participants showed pre- and post- improvements in aspects of positive parenting (Emotional Responsivity, Positive Affect), but no decreases in negative parenting. The efficacy of the SMF Multifamily Group intervention does not appear to depend on parent risk level or preintervention parent behavior and affect. Further, a mediation model demonstrated that the intervention effects on parents’ observed positive affect in an interaction task with their child were partially accounted for by intervention-related changes in their parenting reflectivity. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)