The impact of the Circle of Security-Parenting© program on mothers in residential substance abuse treatment: an action research study

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Gretta Evette Horton (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Christine Murray

Abstract: Child maltreatment (CM) is a pervasive social problem in the United States that occurs across all socioeconomic, religious, cultural, and ethnic groups (United States Department of Health & Human Services, 2012). Though the causes of CM are complex and involve multiple factors, researchers have found that specific parenting factors are associated with child maltreatment, including harsh discipline practices, hostile attributions, difficulties with emotion regulation, maternal substance abuse, and a parent's personal history of child abuse (Azar, 2002; Belsky & Jaffee, 2006; Mayes & Truman, 2002). Improving parenting through parenting programs is one of the most important approaches to reducing CM (Barth, 2009). The primary purpose of this study was to determine the impact of a manualized, group-based, parenting program on mothers in residential treatment for substance abuse. The Circle of Security-Parenting© (COS-P; Cooper, Hoffman, & Powell, 2009) program is a shortened, eight session version of the original Circle of Security® protocol that has shown efficacy in working with parents at risk for CM (Cassidy et al., 2010; Hoffman, Marvin, Cooper, & Powell, 2006). A secondary purpose involved assessing if COS-P can positively impact three measurable social information processing and attachment variables associated with child maltreatment: (a) hostile attributions (b) emotion regulation, and (c) harsh discipline practices. Utilizing action research methodology, qualitative, quantitative, and secondary data sets were gathered. Quantitative results indicated that some participants who attended the majority of COS-P sessions showed reliable change (Jacobson & Truax, 1991) from pretest to posttest, with the largest changes in parental discipline practices. Qualitatively, COS-P participants, staff members at the agency, and the group researcher/facilitator overwhelmingly commented positively on the new curriculum, with the only noted weakness being more time needed with the curriculum. Further, a review of the participant's background demographic data indicated that participants who had reliable change (i.e., change that was larger than measurement error) on their dependent pretest to posttest measures differed from those who did not have reliable change on their measures on three background variables: education level, self-reported personal history of CM, and time in residential treatment. Results indicate that COS-P is a well-received, engaging program that may impact the parenting factors associated with CM for mothers in residential substance abuse treatment.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2013
Attachment, Child Maltreatment, Intervention, Parent Education, Parenting, Substance Abuse
Parent and child $z United States $x Psychological aspects
Child abuse $z United States $x Prevention
Parenting $z United States $x Psychological aspects

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