The Turtle Program: PCIT for Young Children Displaying Behavioral Inhibition

  • Christina M. DankoEmail author
  • Kelly A. O’Brien
  • Kenneth H. Rubin
  • Andrea Chronis-Tuscano


Stable behavioral inhibition (BI), a temperamental predisposition present in 15–20% of infants and toddlers, is associated with increased risk of developing anxiety disorders in adolescence and adulthood. Within a transactional framework, parent–child interactions and peer relationships have been shown to moderate the developmental progression from elevated, stable BI to social withdrawal to later psychopathology, presenting important targets for prevention and intervention programs. The Turtle Program: PCIT for Young Children Displaying Behavioral Inhibition (Turtle Program) is a multicomponent early intervention program for behaviorally inhibited preschoolers that targets both parent–child and child–peer interactions. The 8-session Turtle Program consists of a group-based adaptation of PCIT and a child social and emotional skills group (Social Skills Facilitated Play). Within the parent PCIT-based component, parents learn skills to increase parental responsiveness and facilitate child approach behaviors within the peer context. In this chapter, the authors describe modifications made to the PCIT protocol to target child BI/anxiety, and provide a case example to illustrate how the intervention works.


Behavioral inhibition Anxiety Parenting Early intervention Social withdrawal 



This research was funded by NIH R34 MH083832-01 and NIH R01 MH103253-01 awarded to Drs. Chronis-Tuscano and Rubin.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christina M. Danko
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kelly A. O’Brien
    • 1
  • Kenneth H. Rubin
    • 1
  • Andrea Chronis-Tuscano
    • 1
  1. 1.University of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

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