Using a music therapy approach to assess emotional communication and parent–child interaction is new to the field of child protection. However, musical improvisations in music therapy has long been known as an analogue to affect attunement and early non-verbal communication between parent and infant, which called for an investigation of the value of music therapy within the field of family assessment and family therapy. More specifically, we wanted to investigate and further strengthen assessment of parenting competencies (APC). We developed scores and examined the psychometric properties of the APC-R (revised version) in a quantitative study including a small, embedded qualitative component. A total of 52 dyads of children and their parents participated of whom 18 were in residential center to address emotional neglect and 33 functioned as a non-clinical comparison (children aged 5–12). All dyads underwent two video recorded music therapy assessment sessions. Video analyses focused on autonomy relationship, turns, and parental response types producing scores on Mutual Attunement, Nonverbal Communication Skills and Emotional Parental Response. Psychometric analyses of the APC-R included interrater reliability, test re-test reliability, internal consistency, and concurrent validity. We concluded that APC-R is reliable and valid and adds to the existing observational instruments of parent–child interaction.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Abidin, R. (1995). Parenting Stress Index. Professional manual. Lutz, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources.
Ainsworth, M. D. S., Blehar, M. C., Waters, E., & Wall, S. (1978). Patterns of attachment: A psychological study of the strange situation. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.
Baxter, H. T., Berghofer, J. A., MacEwan, L., Nelson, J., Peters, K., & Roberts, P. (2007). The individualized music therapy assessment profile. Philadelphia, PA: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Brace, N., Kemp, R., & Snelgar, R. (2006). SPSS for psychologists. New York, NY: Palgrave MacMillian.
Browne, D. T., Meunier, J. C., O’Connor, T. G., & Jenkins, J. M. (2012). The role of parental personality traits in differential parenting. Journal of Family Psychology, 26, 542–553.
Bruscia, K. E. (1987). Improvisational models of music therapy. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas.
Carcamo, R. A., Ijzendoorn, M. H. V., Vermeer, H. J., & Veer, R. V. D. (2013). The validity of the Massie Campbell attachment during stress scale (ADS). Journal of Child and Family Studies,. doi:10.1007/s10826-013-9728-z.
Carpenter, L. L., Tyrka, A. R., Ross, N. S., Khoury, L., Anderson, G. M., & Price, L. H. (2009). Effect of childhood emotional abuse and age on cortisol responsivity in adulthood. Biological Psychiatry, 66, 69–75.
Crittenden, P. M. (2005). Der Care Index als hilsmittel für Früherkennung, Intervention und Forschung. Frühförderung interdisziplinär (early interdisciplinary intervention). Special Issue: Bindungsorientierte Ansätze in der Praxis der Früförderung, 24, 99–106.
Crittenden, P. M., Claussen, A. H., & Kozlowska, K. (2007). Choosing a valid assessment of attachment for clinical use: A comparative study. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy, 28, 78–87.
Daveson, B. A., Magee, W. L., Crewe, L., Beaumont, G., & Kenealy, P. (2007). The music therapy assessment tool for low awareness states. International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation, 14, 545–549.
Deacon, S., & Piercy, F. (2001). Qualitative methods in family evaluation: Creative assessment techniques. The American Journal of Family Therapy, 29, 255–273.
Elzinga, B. M., Molendijk, M. L., Oude Voshaar, R. C., Bus, B. A., Prickaerts, J., Spinhoven, P., et al. (2011). The impact of childhood abuse and recent stress on serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor and the moderating role of BDNF Val66Met. Psychopharmacology (Berl), 214, 319–328.
Estefan, L. F., Coulter, M. L., Vandeweerd, C. L., Armstrong, M., & Gorski, P. (2013). Relationships between stressors and parenting attitudes in a child welfare parenting program. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 21, 199–208.
Fosco, G. M., Caruthers, A. S., & Dishion, T. J. (2012). A six-year predictive test of adolescent family relationship quality and effortful control pathways to emerging adult social and emotional health. Journal of Family Psychology, 26, 665–675.
George, C., Kaplan, N., & Main, M. (1995). The adult attachment interview. Unpublished manuscript, University of California at Berkeley.
Gerard, A. (2005). Parent–child relationship inventory (PCRI): Manual. Los Angeles, CA: Western Psychological Services.
Green, J. M., Stanley, C., Smith, V., & Goldwyn, R. (2000). A new method of evaluating attachment representations in young school-age children: The Manchester Child Attachment Story Task. Attachment and Human Development, 2, 42–64.
Hald, S. (2012). Active music therapy, acquired brain injury, and interpersonal communication competences. Unpublished PhD Thesis, Aalborg University.
Hibben, J. (1992). Music therapy in the treatment of families with young children. Music Therapy, 11, 8–44.
Holck, U. (2004). Turn-taking in music therapy with children with communication disorders. British Journal of Music Therapy, 18, 45–53.
Holck, U. (2008). Kommunikativ musikalitet. Kognition and Pædagogik. Tidsskrift om den gode Læring, 18, 70–79.
Iwaniec, D. (1995). The emotionally abused and neglected child: Identification, assessment, and intervention. Chichester, NH: Wiley.
Jacobsen, S. (2012). Music therapy assessment and development of parental competences in families with children who have experienced emotional neglect: An investigation of the reliability and validity of the tool, Assessment of Parenting Competencies (APC). Unpublished PhD Thesis, Aalborg, Denmark: Aalborg University. http://www.mt-phd.aau.dk/digitalAssets/42/42798_jacobsen2012.pdf.
Jacobsen, S., & Killén, K. (2014). Clinical application of music therapy assessment within the field of child Protection. Nordic Journal of Music Therapy,. doi:10.1080/08098131.2014.908943.
Jacobsen, S., & Wigram, T. (2007). Music therapy for the assessment of parental competences for children in need of care. Nordic Journal of Music Therapy, 16, 129–142.
Killén, K. (2010). Omsorgssvigt. Det teoretiske grundlag. Kbh, Dk: Hans Reitzels Forlag.
Killén, K. (2012). Barndommen varer i generationer. Forebyggelse af omsorgssvigt. Kbh, DK: Hans Reitzels Forlag.
Kim, J., Wigram, T., & Gold, C. (2009). Emotional, motivational and interpersonal responsiveness of children with autism in improvisational music therapy. Autism, 13, 389–409.
Knapp, M., & Hall, J. (2009). Nonverbal communication in human interaction: International Edition. Boston, MA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
Miller, E. M. (1994). Musical intervention in family therapy. Music Therapy, 12, 39–57.
Molyneux, C. (2008). Music therapy as part of a multidisciplinary family assessment process. In K. Twyford & T. Watson (Eds.), Integrated team working (pp. 42–47). London: Jessica Kingsley Publisher.
Narayan, A. J., Herbers, J. E., Plowman, E. J., Gewirtz, A. H., & Masten, A. S. (2012). Expressed emotion in homeless families: A methodological study of the five-minute speech sample. Journal of Family Psychology, 26, 648–653.
Oldfield, A. (2006). Interactive music therapy in child and family psychiatry. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Oldfield, A., & Flower, C. (2008). Music therapy with children and their families. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Osa, N. D. L., Granero, R., Penelo, E., Domenech, J. M., & Ezpeleta, L. (2013). Psychometric properties of the Alabama Parenting Questionnaire-Preschool Revision (APQ-Pr) in 3 year-old Spanish preschoolers. Journal of Child and Family Studies,. doi:10.1007/s10826-013-9730-z.
Pavlicevic, M. (2002). Dynamic interplay in clinical improvisation. Voices: A world forum for music therapy, 2. https://normt.uib.no/index.php/voices/article/view/88/70.
Pavlicevic, M. (2007). The Music Interaction Rating Scale (Schizophrenia;MIR(S)): Microanalysis of co-improvisation in music therapy with adults suffering from chronic schizophrenia. In T. Wosch & T. Wigram (Eds.), Microanalysis in music therapy (pp. 174–185). London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Schore, J., & Schore, A. (2008). Modern attachment theory: The central role of affect regulation in development and treatment. Clinical Social Work Journal, 36, 9–20.
Snyder, R., Shapiro, S., & Treleaven, D. (2013). Attachment theory and mindfulness. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 21, 709–717.
Stern, D. (1995). The motherhood constellation. New York, NY: Basic Books.
Stern, D. (2000). The interpersonal world of the infant. New York, NY: Basic Books. (Original work published in 1985).
Stern, D. (2010a). The issue of vitality. Nordic Journal of Music Therapy, 19, 88–102.
Stern, D. (2010b). Forms of vitality. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Storm, S. (2014). Research into the development of a voice assessment tool in music therapy. Unpublished PhD Thesis, Aalborg University.
Trondalen, G., & Skårderud, F. (2007). Playing with affects: And the importance of “affect attunement”. Nordic Journal of Music Therapy, 16, 100–111.
Van Moreau, D., Ellgring, H., Goth, K., Poust, F., & Aldridge, D. (2010). Psychometric results of the Music Therapy Scale (MAKS) for measuring expression and communication. Music and Medicine, 2, 41–47.
Weisner, T. S., & Fiese, B. H. (2011). Introduction to special section of the Journal of Family Psychology, advances in mixed methods in family psychology: Integrative and applied solutions for family science. Journal of Family Psychology, 25, 795–798.
Wigram, T. (2007). Event-based analysis of improvisation using the improvisational assessment profiles (IAPs). In T. Wosch & T. Wigram (Eds.), Microanalysis in music therapy (pp. 211–226). London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Wigram, T., Bonde, L. O., & Nygaard-Pedersen, I. (2002). A comprehensive guide to music therapy: Theory, clinical practice, research and training. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Winnicott, D. (1971). Play and reality. New York, NY: Basic Books.
Wolf, C., & Peregoy, J. (2003). Assessing parenting capability. In K. Jordan (Ed.), Handbook of couple and family assessment (pp. 167–186). New York, NY: Nova Science Publishers.
Young, R., Lennie, S., & Minnis, H. (2011). Children’s perception of parental emotional neglect and control and psychopathology. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 52, 889–897.
About this article
Cite this article
Jacobsen, S.L., McKinney, C.H. A Music Therapy Tool for Assessing Parent–Child Interaction in Cases of Emotional Neglect. J Child Fam Stud 24, 2164–2173 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-014-0019-0
- Parent–child interaction
- Parenting competencies
- Music therapy
- Emotional communication