Enhancing maternal sensitivity and emotional wellbeing through a preventative parent-child relationship intervention in a community setting

Document Type

Journal Article


Springer Verlag


Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science


School of Psychology and Social Science




This article was originally published as: King K.L., Priddis L.E., Kane R.T. (2015). Enhancing Maternal Sensitivity and Emotional Wellbeing Through a Preventative Parent-Child Relationship Intervention in a Community Setting. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 24(6), 1582-1592. Original article available here


The aim of this applied study was to explore the outcomes of a parent-child relationship intervention for enhancing maternal sensitivity to the infant's needs and increasing maternal emotional wellbeing in the parenting situation. Whilst there is extensive support established for interventions with high-risk and at-risk populations, there is limited evidence from programs that target low risk parents who on presentation are often identified to have symptoms of depression, anxiety, or stress. A mixed methods research design was utilised to present quantitative and qualitative outcomes at pre- and post-intervention from 14 participants in the Tuned In Parenting program at a community health organisation. Self-report measures were summarised to provide a descriptive profile of participants. Recorded mother-child semi-structured play interactions were analysed using a behaviour rating scale. Transcripts of audio recordings from semi-structured interviews were analysed using a thematic and content approach. Participants demonstrated enhanced maternal sensitive responsiveness and a reduction in symptoms of maternal depression following program completion. The preventative relationship based intervention holds considerable promise in improving maternal wellbeing and transforming relationships between mothers and their children.