Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 27, Issue 5, pp 1605–1613 | Cite as

Evaluation of an Intervention Program for Families with Children at Risk for Maltreatment and Developmental Impairment: A Preliminary Study

  • Maria Manuela Calheiros
  • Joana Nunes Patrício
  • João Graça
  • Eunice Magalhães
Original Paper


This study evaluated the preliminary effects of an early intervention program for parents and children at-risk. In this study, a sample of 40 children were randomly assigned to a 9-months intervention program (intervention group, n = 20) or remained in usual practice conditions (control group, n = 20). The intervention involved group dynamics with children in pre-school and individual work sessions with the parents and the children at home. A repeated measures design 2 × 2 was used to test the program effects on parenting practices (Maltreatment Questionnaire) and on children’s mental and social development (Griffiths Mental Development Scales). Results revealed that the program had a positive impact mostly on parenting practices, decreasing physical and psychological abuse (d = −1.01), physical neglect (d = −0.71) and lack of supervision (d = −0.48), and also on measures of cognitive development (i.e., hearing and language; d = 0.31). The program reinforces the importance and effectiveness of attunement intervention programs for parents and for children.


Early intervention program Parents and children Program evaluation Parenting practices Child development 



This study was funded by Casa Pia de Lisboa.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Research Involving Human Participants and/or Animals

All procedures performed in the current study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE-IUL)Cis-IULLisboaPortugal
  2. 2.Centro de Investigação em Ciência Psicológica, Faculdade de PsicologiaUniversidade de LisboaLisboaPortugal
  3. 3.Instituto de Ciências SociaisUniversidade de LisboaLisboaPortugal

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