The effects of a responsive parenting intervention on parent-child interactions during shared book reading

Susan H. Landry, Karen E. Smith, Paul R. Swank, Tricia Zucker, April D. Crawford, Emily F. Solari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Scopus citations


This study examined mother-child shared book reading behaviors before and after participation in a random-assignment responsive parenting intervention called Play and Learning Strategies (PALS) that occurred during infancy (PALS I), the toddler-preschool (PALS II) period, or both as compared with a developmental assessment (DAS) intervention (DAS Iand/or II). The efficacy of PALS was previously demonstrated for improving mother and child behaviors within play contexts, everyday activities, and standardized measures of child language. We hypothesized that PALS effects would generalize to influence maternal andchild behaviors during a shared reading task even though this situation was not a specificfocus of the intervention and that this would be similar for children who varied in biological risk. Participation in at least PALS II was expected to have a positive effect due to children's increased capacity to engage in book reading at this age. Four groups of randomized mothers and their children (PALS I-II, PALS I-DAS II, DAS I-PALS II, DAS I-II) were observed in shared reading interactions during the toddler-preschool period and codedfor (a) mother's affective and cognitive-linguistic supports and (b) child's responses tomaternal requests and initiations. Support was found for significant changes in observed maternal and child behaviors, and evidence of mediation was found for the intervention toaffect children's behaviors through change in maternal responsiveness behaviors. These results add to other studies supporting the importance of targeting a broad range of responsive behaviors across theoretical frameworks in interventions to facilitate children's development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)969-986
Number of pages18
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2012


  • Affective responsive parenting
  • Biological risks
  • Cognitively responsive
  • Early intervention
  • Shared book reading

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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