This protocol has been used with mothers and children ages 19 to 41 months in community samples.

[+]

Identified

Coercive Family Process Theory (Coercion Theory; Patterson, 1982) is one of the most highly developed and influential behavioral models of dyadic family conflict (Dishion & Snyder, 2016). Coercion Theory explains how, via negative reinforcement, negative escalation sequences are reinforcing for both persons, despite their unpleasant and destructive qualities. Patterson (1982) posited that people learn coercive behavior through ways in which conflicts are resolved. Over time, if Person A responds to Person B’s escalating aversive behavior by giving in (thus ceasing his/her own aversive behavior), B learns to escalate to get his/her way. Importantly, both persons’ behaviors are maintained through reinforcement. B is negatively reinforced for escalating (via A shutting up) and may be positively reinforced as well (via A doing what B was asking for in the argument). A is negatively reinforced for giving in (via the termination of B’s aversive behavior). Over time, these conflicts serve as learning trials. Of course, B does not always win. Sometimes, B backs down in response to the A’s aversive escalation. Thus, once a coercive process takes hold, both members of the dyad are faced with an unfortunate choice: (a) give in and lose the battle, or (b) win via out-escalating the other. This process can lead to ever darker, bitter battles. In Patterson’s (1976, p. 1) exquisite phrasing, each person is both “victim and architect of a coercive system.”
The Parent-Child Interaction Protocol allows for observation and coding of parent-child relationship behaviors, such as hostility. As noted in a review of the literature by Repetti et al. (2002), a sizable literature links hostile parent-child relationships to (a) problems with social-cognitive and affective processes, such as self-regulation of emotion and behavior; (b) physiological stress reactivity processes, especially in the neuroendocrine axes and in immune functioning; and (c) poor health outcomes. As such, the parent-child relationship behaviors observed in the Parent-Child Interaction protocol might be a mechanism of change.

[+] PMCID, PUBMED ID, or CITATION

Text Citation: Patterson, G. R. (1982). Coercive family processes. Eugene, OR: Castilla Press.

Text Citation: Repetti, R. L., Taylor, S. E., & Seeman, T. E. (2002). Risky families: Family social environments and the mental and physical health of offspring. Psychological Bulletin, 128, 330-366. doi: 10.1037//0033-2909.128.2.330

Text Citation: T. Dishion & J. Snyder (Eds.). (2016). The Oxford Handbook of Coercive Relationship Dynamics. New York: Oxford University Press.

Measured

Observed discipline in these tasks has been found to be meaningfully associated with variables in its nomological network. Harsh discipline has been associated with greater intensity of mothers' experienced negative emotion, maternal heart rate reactivity, child misbehavior and child negative emotion displays (Lorber, Mitnick, & Slep, 2016; Lorber & Slep, 2005). This supports the external validity of this protocol.

[+] PMCID, PUBMED ID, or CITATION

Text Citation: Lorber, M. F., Mitnick, D. M., & Slep, A. M. S. (2016). Parents' experience of flooding in discipline encounters: Associations with discipline and interplay with related factors. Journal of Family Psychology, 30, 470-479. doi:10.1037/fam0000176

Text Citation: Lorber, M. F., & Slep, A. M. S. (2005). Mothers’ emotion dynamics and their relations with harsh and lax discipline: Microsocial time series analyses. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 34, 559-568. doi:10.1207/s15374424jccp3403_11

Influenced

Observed discipline in these tasks has been repeatedly shown to be sensitive to the effects of cognitive and affective experimental manipulations.
In a study of mothers and toddlers, mothers were randomly assigned to view a videotape that contained either a high level of child negative affect (NA) or no negative affect (NNA). After viewing the videotape, mothers were observed interacting with their own children in the Parent Child Interaction Protocol. Mothers in the NA condition displayed significantly greater overreactivity to child misbehavior. Children of mothers in the NA condition tended to display more misbehavior during the last two tasks of the interaction (Arnold & O'Leary, 1995).
In another study of mothers and toddlers, relative to mothers who were told that their children were not to blame for misbehaving, mothers who were told that their children would misbehave voluntarily and with negative intent were significantly more overreactive in their discipline in the lab tasks. Their children exhibited higher rates of negative affect in the lab tasks (Slep & O'Leary, 1998).

[+] PMCID, PUBMED ID, or CITATION

Text Citation: Arnold, E. H., & O’Leary, S. G. (1995). The effect of child negative affect on maternal discipline behavior. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 23, 585–595. doi:10.1007/BF01447663.

Text Citation: Slep, A. M. S., & O’Leary, S. G. (1998). The effects of maternal attributions on parenting: An experimental analysis. Journal of Family Psychology, 12, 234–243. doi:10.1037/0893-3200. 12.2.234.

[+] Demographics

Observed discipline in these tasks has been found to be meaningfully associated with variables in its nomological network. Harsh discipline has been associated with greater intensity of mothers' experienced negative emotion, maternal heart rate reactivity, child misbehavior and child negative emotion displays (Lorber, Mitnick, & Slep, 2016; Lorber & Slep, 2005). This supports the external validity of this protocol.

Validated

This measure has not been validated yet.

Access Measure

SOBC Validation Process

The Science of Behavior Change (SOBC) program seeks to promote basic research on the initiation, personalization and maintenance of behavior change. By integrating work across disciplines, this effort will lead to an improved understanding of the underlying principles of behavior change. The SOBC program aims to implement a mechanisms-focused, experimental medicine approach to behavior change research and to develop the tools required to implement such an approach. The experimental medicine approach involves: identifying an intervention target, developing measures to permit verification of the target, engaging the target through experimentation or intervention, and testing the degree to which target engagement produces the desired behavior change.

Within the SOBC Measures Repository, researchers have access to measures of mechanistic targets that have been (or are in the processing of being) validated by SOBC Research Network Members and other experts in the field. The SOBC Validation Process includes three important stages of evaluation for each proposed measure: Identification, Measurement, and Influence.

The first stage of validation requires a measure to be Identified within the field; there must be theoretical support for the specific measure of the proposed mechanistic target or potential mechanism of behavior change. This evidence may include references for the proposed measure, or theoretical support for the construct that the proposed measure is intended to assess. The second stage of validation requires demonstration that the level and change in level of the chosen mechanistic target can be Measured with the proposed measure (assay). For example, if the proposed measure is a questionnaire, the score on the measure should indicate the activity of the target process, and it must have strong psychometric properties. The third stage of validation requires demonstration that the measure can be Influenced; there must be evidence that the measured target is malleable and responsive to manipulation. Evidence relating to each stage includes at least one peer-reviewed publication or original data presentation (if no peer-reviewed research is available to support the claim) and is evaluated by SOBC Research Network Members and experts in the field.

Once a measure has gone through these three stages, it will then either be Validated or Not validated according to SOBC Research Network standards. If a measure is Validated, then change in the measured target was reliably associated with Behavior Change. If a measure is Not validated, then change in the measured target was not reliably associated with Behavior Change. Why would we share measures that are not validated? The SOBC Research Network values open, rigorous, and transparent research. Our goal is to make meaningful progress and develop replicable and effective interventions in behavior change science. Therefore, the SOBC sees value in providing other researchers in the field with information regarding measures that work and measures that fall short for specific targets. Further, a measure that is not validated for one target in one population may be validated in another target or population.

Want to learn more? For any questions regarding the SOBC Validation Process or Measures Repository, please email info@scienceofbehaviorchange.org.

Identified

Has the mechanism been identified as a potential target for behavior change? This section summarizes theoretical support for the mechanism.

Measured

Have the psychometric properties of this measure been assessed? This section includes information such as content validity, internal consistency, and test-retest reliability.

Influenced

Has a study manipulation led to change in the mechanism? This section addresses evidence that this measure is modifiable by experimental manipulation or clinical intervention.

Not Validated

Has a change in this mechanism been associated with behavior change? This section addresses empirical evidence that causing change in the measure reliably produces subsequent behavior change.