Child Abuse Interventions

Behavioral Interventions


Beginning in the 1970’s, there has been a great deal of attention given to training of parents on basic skills to use in child management. These have been developed for both parents at large as well as for high risk parents, and have included information on parenting infants and toddlers as well as older children and adolescents.

Review of behavioral interventions:


O’Connor, 1980

Study design and target population

RCT with assignment of mothers to either rooming-in or to regular nursery care



Rooming-in after birth of first-born child


Follow-up at 17 months. Number of infants hospitalized for inadequate parenting


.7% of intervention infants hospitalized vs. 5.4% of control infants. OR for hospitalization = 0.13

Study quality and conclusions

Effect on subsequent hospitalizations. No data on abuse

Summary of behavioral interventions

There is a surprising lack of data on the effect of behavioral interventions and parenting programs on the actual risk of abuse in high risk families.

Recommendations on behavioral interventions

At the current time, we cannot recommend these interventions based on the lack of data on reduction in abuse and neglect.

Recommendations for future research

There is a clear need for research which examines the immediate and long term impact of these interventions on abuse. These should be done as RCTs.