The Differential Contribution of the Components of Parent−Child Interaction Therapy Emotion Development for Treatment of Preschool Depression

Joan L. Luby, Kirsten Gilbert, Diana Whalen, Rebecca Tillman, Deanna M. Barch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: An adaptation of Parent−Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) with a novel Emotion Development (ED) module has shown efficacy for the treatment of early childhood depression. Children who received PCIT-ED also showed healthy alterations in neural response to reward. We investigated whether the novel ED module made a unique contribution to the treatment of depression and neural response to reward, and whether child-directed intervention (CDI) and parent-directed intervention (PDI) modules (standard elements of PCIT) were also effective. Method: Dyads who participated in a randomized controlled trial of PCIT that compared the active PCIT-ED to a wait list (WL) condition were assessed at the completion of each module of PCIT-ED (CDI, PDI, ED) or WL time equivalent for child depression and other symptoms, parenting styles, stress, and depression. Event-related potentials during a reward task were obtained at the end of standard PCIT and after the novel ED module. Results: Study findings showed that the ED module as well as some elements of standard PCIT were effective in reducing child depression and other forms of psychopathology. Changes in the child's neural response to reward and parental response to child emotional expression were specific to the ED module. Conclusion: Study findings suggest that the novel ED module has added efficacy for the treatment of early childhood depression, as well as unique efficacy in changing neural responses to reward and parenting response to child emotional expression. These findings can inform clinical uses of this treatment in a modular fashion. Future studies are needed that control for session number and order of PCIT-ED modules. Clinical trial registration information: A Randomized Controlled Trial of PCIT-ED for Preschool Depression; https://clinicaltrials.gov/; NCT02076425.

Keywords

  • affective symptoms
  • depression
  • preschool
  • therapeutics

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