Date

2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

School Psychology

First Adviser

Manz, Patricia

Abstract

Due to the lasting, negative impact of poverty on the well-being of millions of children, addressing issues of socioeconomic disparities in early child development is a national priority. The primary purpose of many early prevention and intervention programs implemented in the context of home visiting services is to improve the developmental outcomes for young children from low socioeconomic backgrounds. Parenting is an important target of intervention for these programs because positive parenting is associated with a range of improved cognitive, social-emotional, and behavioral outcomes. Home visitors implementing parenting interventions should use a specific set of recommended practices to enhance parenting skill and foster the parent-child relationship. Unfortunately, the research investigating home visitor practice through observational measures suggests limited use of these effective practices. The purpose of this study was to examine home visitor practice using an observational measure, specifically the Home Visit Rating Scales – Adapted and Extended (HOVRS-A+), to gain further insight into the practices used by home visitors to support parenting, the variability in these practices, and whether these practices are associated with improved parenting outcomes. In addition, this study explored the connection between parenting and culture by examining home visitor practice in a subsample of Hispanic families. Lastly, factors that may affect home visitor practice, such as professional qualifications or cultural match with parents, were explored.

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