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Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-Up (ABC) Intervention

In Brief

Last Updated

August 2016

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Evidence of Program Model Effectiveness

This program model does not meet the criteria established by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) for an “evidence-based early childhood home visiting service delivery model” for the general population or for tribal populations.

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Program Model Description

The Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-Up (ABC) Intervention is a training program for caregivers of infants and young children 6 to 24 months old, including high-risk birth parents and caregivers of young children in foster care, kinship care (such as a grandparent raising a grandchild), and adoptive care. Parent coaches conduct 10 weekly home visits, approximately 60 minutes each. The program is designed to help caregivers provide nurturance even when children do not appear to need it, mutually responsive interactions in which caregivers follow children’s lead, and nonfrightening care. Parent coaches provide immediate feedback (referred to as “in the moment” comments) on the caregivers’ interaction with the child to help the caregivers attend to the target behaviors. The model also incorporates homework and video feedback. This report also includes a review of an adaptation of ABC, ABC-I, which aims to assist parents in responding sensitively to children’s pseudo-autistic and indiscriminately friendly behaviors, along side other ABC targets. For more information, please read the Program Model Overview.

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Extent of Evidence

Results of Search and ReviewNumber of Studies for ABCNumber of Studies for ABC-I
Released from 1979 to 2015 281
Eligible for review 161
     Rated high 10
     Rated moderate 11
     Rated low 130
     Additional sourcesa 10

aAdditional sources overlap with another study and are not rated.

For more information, see the study database. For more information on the criteria used to determine the study ratings, please read Producing Study Ratings.

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Summary of Findings



ABC*
Outcomes Primary Outcome Measures Secondary Outcome Measures
Child Development and School Readiness Not measured Not measured
Child Health

Favorable: 1
No effect: 0
Unfavorable or ambiguous: 0

Favorable: 0
No effect: 0
Unfavorable or ambiguous: 0

Family Economic Self-Sufficiency Not measured Not measured
Linkages and Referrals Not measured Not measured
Maternal Health Not measured Not measured
Positive Parenting Practices

Favorable: 2
No effect: 0
Unfavorable or ambiguous: 0

Favorable: 0
No effect: 0
Unfavorable or ambiguous: 0

Reductions in Child Maltreatment Not measured Not measured
Reductions in Juvenile Delinquency, Family Violence, and Crime Not measured Not measured

ABC-I
Outcomes Primary Outcome Measures Secondary Outcome Measures
Child Development and School Readiness Not measured Not measured
Child Health Not measured Not measured
Family Economic Self-Sufficiency Not measured Not measured
Linkages and Referrals Not measured Not measured
Maternal Health Not measured Not measured
Positive Parenting Practices

Favorable: 2
No effect: 0
Unfavorable or ambiguous: 0

Favorable: 0
No effect: 0
Unfavorable or ambiguous: 0

Reductions in Child Maltreatment Not measured Not measured
Reductions in Juvenile Delinquency, Family Violence, and Crime Not measured Not measured
*Note: The two favorable impacts for positive parenting practices are in one sample, and the favorable impact for child health is in another sample. Therefore, ABC does not meet the DHHS criteria for favorable impacts in at least two outcome domains within one sample.

Please read Describing Effects for more information on these categories. Only results from studies that meet the standards for the high or moderate ratings are included above.

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Criteria Established by the Department of Health and Human Services

 ABCABC-I
Information Based on Comprehensive Review of All High- and Moderate-Impact Studies for this Model
High- or moderate-quality impact study? YesYes
Across high- or moderate-quality studies, favorable impacts in…
 
   at least two outcome domains within one sample
 
   OR
 
   the same domain for at least two non-overlapping samples?
NoNo
Favorable impacts on full sample? YesYes
Any favorable impacts on outcome measures sustained at least 12 months after program enrollment?a YesNo
One or more favorable, statistically significant impact reported in a peer-reviewed journal?a NoNo

aThis information is reported for all program models, but the requirements for sustained findings and inclusion in a peer-reviewed journal only apply to models for which all findings are from randomized controlled trials.

Please read the DHHS Criteria for Evidence-Based Program Models for more information.

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