FITT Model: Impact on Parent Child Relationship

  • Summary
  • Assessment Measures
  • Interventions
  • References



Trauma, urban poverty and parent-child relational variables interact in complex ways to affect child and family mental health outcomes. Generally speaking, research indicates that the quality of parent-child relationships is negatively impacted when a parent (mother) has experienced a traumatic event(s) and/or when the child being parented experiences a traumatic event(s). In addition, factors associated with urban poverty (i.e. racial discrimination, economic hardship and chronic stress) increase the likelihood of the negative impact of trauma on parent-child relationships. Lastly, trauma + poverty was found to be more detrimental to the parent-child relationship than poverty along. Relational variables impacted include compromised attachment, parental withdrawal/worry, and re-enactment of abandonment themes. Two measures of parent-child relationship variables with established psychometric properties were found in the literature that seem to have relevance to this topic: The Parent-Child Conflict Tactic Scale and The Parental Acceptance-Rejection Questionnaire (Child Version). Four evidence-supported interventions that target improving the parent-child relationship subsequent to trauma have been used successfully in urban populations: Parent Child Interaction Therapy; Child-Parent Psychotherapy; Abuse-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy; and Combined Parent Cognitive Behavioral Approach for Children and Families at Risk for Abuse.


Assessment Measures

Name of Instrument Author(s) Domains Assessed Age Range  Source/Form (self report, lab, observation, other) # of items Time Cost Training Required Where to obtain Psychometric Properties Other comments:
Parent-Child Conflict Tactic Scales (CTSPC-CA) Straus, Hamby, Finkelhor, Moore, Runyan, 1995 Measures the frequency of parents' behavior related to discipline, aggression, assault, neglect, and sexual abuse and the extent to which parents carried out specific acts of physical or psychological aggression, regardless of whether or not the child is injured. Rec. for children 11 and younger, but can be used with teens Child respondent, interviewer administered for pre-teens, self-report for older teens 22; although can ask each item for mother and father separately 10-15 minutes Free, with permission 4-hour training workshop available, offered annually at a family violence conference. Also, familiarity w/administration, scoring guidelines, and interpretation.  Copyrighted, permission required for use.
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Some evidence for reliability and validity  Can also be used with adult children to recall the behavior of their parents when they lived at home. 
Parent-Child Conflict Tactic Scales (CTS PC) Straus, Hamby, Finkelhor, Moore, Runyan, 1998 Areas assessed: Nonviolent discipline, physical assault, neglect, psychological aggression, weekly discipline, & sexual abuse. Focuses on parent's experiences with their child, but also asks about parent's own experiences as a child.  Parent Parent self-report or interview 35 10 minutes $54.50 for the handbook; $1.70 per form (pkgs of 25)  4-hour training workshop available, offered annually at a family violence conference. Also, familiarity w/administration, scoring guidelines, and interpretation.  Western Psychological Services  Strong evidence for reliability and validity   
Parental Acceptance-Rejection Questionnaire – Child Version (PARQ – child) Rohner, Saaredra, & Granum, 1979 Designed to measure the way their mothers treat them in terms of 4 scales:  warmth and affection; hostility and aggression; indifference and neglect; undifferentiated rejection Child age 6 - 15 Child self-report 60 30 minutes $35 for Handbook (which includes measure), $100 (Handbook, computer scoring software, copyright waiver)  Familiarity w/administration, scoring guidelines, and interpretation Rohner Research Publications  Strong evidence for reliability and validity  PARQ  I is the adult version and it measures mother's perception about the way she treats her child. PARQ 2 measures how the mother perceives she was treated when she was a child on the same 4 scales. Handbook also contains multiple other measures to use. 
Parenting Relationship Questionnaire Kamphaus & Reynolds, 2006  Indices: Attachment, Communication, Discipline Practices, Involvement, Parenting Confidence, Satisfaction with School, Relational Frustration. Also has a faking good scale.  Age 2:0 - 18:11 Primary caregiver self-report 45 (Preschool) 10-15 minutes $132.85 initial kit (manual, 25 forms each of preschool, school-age, & parent feedback forms). $1.28/hand-scored forms (25 per pkg) Familiarity w/administration, scoring guidelines, and interpretation Pearson Assessment Not reported. More detailed information may be available in manual.  2 forms available: Preschool (2-5) and Child & Adolescent (6-18). Computer scored and scannable forms available. 
Parent Infant Relationship Global Assessment Scale (PIRGAS) Zero to three, 1994 Clinician judgment of parent infant relationship, 90 point scale Infant and Caregiver Clinician 90 point scale Rating selected following a thorough assessment Free Familiarity w/administration, scoring guidelines, and interpretation Washington Institute: Click Here Not reported  Similar to GAF. A score of 40 or below is the threshold for Relationship Disorder diagnostic criteria. 



Kamphaus, R. W. & Reynolds, C. R. (2006). Parenting Relationship Questionnaire (PRQ). Bloomington, MN. Pearson Assessments.

Rohner, R. P., Saavedra, J. M., & Granum, E. O. (1979). Development and Validation of the Parental Acceptance/Rejection Questionnaire Test, Manual. JSAS Catologue of Selected Documents in Psychology. University of Michigan Press.

Straus, M. A., Hamby, S. L., Finkelhor, D., Moore, D. W., & Runyan, D. (1998). Identification of child maltreatment with the Parent-Child Conflict Tactics Scales: Development and psychometric data for a national sample of American parents. Child Abuse & Neglect, 22, 249-270.



Treatment Name


Essential Elements

Research Evidence & Outcomes

URL for Additional Information

Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)

Shelia M. Eyberg

Relationship enhancement & child behavior management

Empirically validated in over 80 studies, with findings including decrease in parental distress; decrease in maternal depressive symptoms; generalization to untreated siblings; positive changes in parents’ interaction style; and maintenance of gains up to 6 years.

Child Parent Psychotherapy (CPP)

Alicia Lieberman & Patricia Van Horn

Safety, affect regulation, improving child-caregiver relationship, normalization of trauma-related response, joint construction of trauma narrative

Reduction in negative child behaviors and trauma symptoms, reduction in maternal avoidance, reduction in maternal distress and PTSD symptoms, improved self-representation, enhanced attachment classification.

Combined Parent-Child Cognitive Behavioral Approach for Children and Families at Risk for Child Physical Abuse (CPC-CBT)

NJ Cares Institute

Child Intervention; Parent Intervention; Parent-Child Intervention

Preliminary data suggest improvements in child internalizing and externalizing behaviors, and positive parenting behaviors.