Development of atypical parental behavior during an inpatient family preservation intervention program

Anne-Fleur W. K. Vischer, Wendy J. Post, Hans Grietens, Erik J. Knorth, Elisa Bronfman - Infant Mental Health Journal


Since failed reunification is a detrimental outcome for children, particularly infants and toddlers, the aim of this study was to gain insight into support to families in multiple-problem situations to help them achieve sustainable good-enough parenting. Therefore, we examined outcomes of an assessment-based inpatient family preservation program. We prepared a thorough target-population description (n = 70) using file analysis. Next, we examined atypical parental behavior during the intervention using the Atypical Maternal Behavior Instrument for Assessment and Classification with a repeated measures design (n = 30). The family files revealed a great number of issues at the family, parent, and child levels, such as practical matters, problems in parent functioning and between parents, and difficulties in the broader environment. We found a significant decline in three dimensions of atypical parental behavior over time. This program has great potential in supporting vulnerable families in their pursuit of family preservation.