Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


The purpose of this study was to compare two methods of instruction in the teaching of parent-child interaction skills. By comparing a highly structured method and a less structured method of instruction, data were compiled in order to determine the manner in which interaction skills could be most effectively taught to parents of three- and four-year old children. The study was conducted in six parishes within Louisiana and all subjects in the study were volunteers. The first method of instruction involved a highly structured approach which utilized video taped demonstrations, written materials, role play, group discussion, toys, and nine weekly class meetings in teaching parents ways to interact with their preschool aged children. A second method of instruction, less structured and more self instructional, but utilizing the same content materials, was offered for nine weeks to a second group of parents. This second group of parents neither viewed the video taped demonstrations, nor met in weekly group sessions, but they received publications each week describing purposes and activities for the accompanying toy. Letters accompanied each publication which briefly described the major focus of learning for the week. The teacher was available for assistance and interpretation of activities during a designated weekly check out period. A test was administered to all parents before and after the nine-week class sessions. The test attempted to measure attitudinal change in the parents enrolled in both methods of instruction. Pretests and posttests were administered to the children of the parents enrolled in both methods of instruction. The Cognitive and Perceptual Skills Test was utilized in measuring skills taught the child by the parent. The results of the analysis of covariance indicated that method of instruction was a significant factor in teaching parents interaction skills with their preschool aged children. The highly structured method of instruction was more effective than the less structured method of instruction in teaching parents of three-and four-year old children interaction skills.