ERIC Number: ED363989
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Apr
A Comparison of Alternative Parent Group Formats in Early Intervention.
Brinker, Richard P.; Howell, Mary T.
This study was designed to examine two contrasting types of parent groups in terms of their differential effects on parents and their disabled infants. The first type of parent support group was focused upon the psychological adaptation of mothers to their disabled child. It was hypothesized that the parent-centered group would directly affect the family by helping the mother cope with stress and in some cases depression, improving parental attitudes toward the child, and demonstrating emotional support from the group leaders and other parents. The second type of parent group was child-centered. This model was educational rather than therapeutic, focusing upon the transfer of information about child development and the impact of children's handicaps upon development, with an emphasis on teaching parents how to meet their child's special needs. Parents of 43 infants were randomly assigned to either parent-centered or child-centered groups for participation in the 10-month intervention program. Results indicated that neither type of parent group had the specific impact the investigators envisaged. The parent-centered group did not reduce stress or depression, lead to more positive attitudes about the child with handicaps, or result in perspectives of greater support from others. The child-centered group did not produce increases in knowledge about child development nor did it increase the child's developmental rate. Topics of discussion by mothers in the two types of parent support groups did not differ, even though the group leader directed the discussion to a greater extent in the child-centered educational groups. (JDD)
Descriptors: Child Development, Coping, Depression (Psychology), Disabilities, Early Intervention, Emotional Adjustment, Infants, Mothers, Parent Attitudes, Parent Education, Program Effectiveness, Social Support Groups, Stress Management
Richard P. Brinker, College of Education, m/c 147, University of Illinois at Chicago, P.O. Box 4348, Chicago, IL 60680.
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (Seattle, WA, April 18-21, 1991).