Does Parents’ Own History of Child Abuse Moderate the Effectiveness of the Promoting First Relationships® Intervention in Child Welfare?




Dave S. Pasalich, Charles B. Fleming, Susan J. Spieker, Mary Jane Lohr, and Monica L. Oxford

Brief Type

Journal Publication


  • Other Models


To better understand how and for whom parenting intervention may improve family outcomes in child welfare services, we examined whether parents’ own history of child abuse moderated the indirect effects of the Promoting First Relationships® (PFR) intervention on toddlers’ secure base behavior via parental sensitivity. Parents (N ¼ 247) and their toddlers (10–24 months) involved with child protective services were randomized to PFR or a control intervention. Results showed that the PFR group demonstrated greater parental sensitivity at postintervention than the control group, which in turn led to higher levels of toddler secure base behavior at 6-month follow-up. Findings from a moderated mediation model indicated that these intervention effects were only evident for parents who experienced physical abuse in their childhood. Parents’ history of sexual or emotional abuse did not significantly moderate outcomes. These results provide evidence for a key mechanism of change in PFR informed by attachment theory and suggest that PFR intervention effects may be stronger in parents at higher risk of the intergenerational transmission of abuse. (author abstract)

Data Collection Methods

  • Parent-child observations
  • Surveys or questionnaires



For More Information

Pasalich, D. S., Fleming, C. B., Spieker, S. J., Lohr, M. J., & Oxford, M. L. (2019). Does parents’ own history of child abuse moderate the effectiveness of the Promoting First Relationships® intervention in child welfare?. Child maltreatment24(1), 56-65. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1077559518809217
Author Contact Information:
Dave S. Pasalich


  • Participant, Family, and Program Outcomes