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Randomized controlled trial of a book-sharing intervention in a deprived South African community: effects on carer-infant interactions, and their relation to infant cognitive and socio-emotional outcome

Murray, L., De Pascalis, L., Tomlinson, M., Vally, Z., Dadomo, H., MacLachlan, B., Woodward, C. and Cooper, P. J. (2016) Randomized controlled trial of a book-sharing intervention in a deprived South African community: effects on carer-infant interactions, and their relation to infant cognitive and socio-emotional outcome. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 57 (12). pp. 1370-1379. ISSN 0021-9630

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1111/jcpp.12605

Abstract/Summary

Background: Consistent with evidence from high income countries, we previously showed that, in an informal peri-urban settlement in a low-middle income country, training parents in book-sharing with their infants benefitted infant language and attention (Vally et al., 2015). Here, we investigated whether these benefits were explained by improvements in carer-infant interactions in both book-sharing and non-book-sharing contexts. We also explored whether infant socio-emotional development benefitted from book-sharing. Methods: We conducted a randomized controlled trial in Khayelitsha, South Africa. Carers of 14-16 month-old infants were randomized to 8 weeks’ training in book-sharing (n = 49) or a wait list control group (n = 42). In addition to the cognitive measures reported previously, independent assessments were made at base line and follow-up of carer-infant interactions during book-sharing and toy play. Assessments were also made, at follow-up only, of infant pro-social behaviour in a ‘help task’, and of infant imitation of doll characters’ non-social actions and an interpersonal interaction. Eighty-two carer-infant pairs (90%) were assessed at follow-up. (Trial registration ISRCTN39953901). Results: Carers who received the training showed significant improvements in book-sharing interactions (sensitivity, elaborations, reciprocity), and, to a smaller extent, in toy-play interactions (sensitivity). Infants in the intervention group showed a significantly higher rate of pro-social behaviour, and tended to show more frequent imitation of the interpersonal interaction. Improvements in carer behaviour during book-sharing, but not during toy play, mediated intervention effects on all infant cognitive outcomes, and tended to mediate intervention effects on infant interpersonal imitation. Conclusions: Training in book sharing, a simple, inexpensive intervention that has been shown to benefit infant cognitive development in a low-middle income country, also shows promise for improving infant socio-emotional outcomes in this context. Benefits are mediated by improvements in carer-infant interactions, particularly in book-sharing contexts.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Development
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Winnicott
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Psychopathology and Affective Neuroscience
ID Code:66042
Publisher:Wiley

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