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Study Detail

Landry, S. H., Smith, K. E., & Swank, P. R. (2006). Responsive parenting: Establishing early foundations for social, communication, and independent problem-solving skills. Developmental Psychology, 42(4), 627-42.

Program(s) Reviewed: Play and Learning Strategies (PALS) Infant

Additional Sources:

Guttentag, C. L., Pedrosa-Josic, C., Landry, S. H., Smith, K. E., & Swank, P. R. (2006). Individual variability in parenting profiles and predictors of change: Effects of an intervention with disadvantaged mothers. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 27, p. 349-369.

Smith, K.E., Landry, S.H. & Swank, P.R. (2005). The influence of decreased parental resources on the efficacy of a responsive parenting intervention. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 73(4), pp. 711-720.

Study Screening Details

Screening DecisionScreening Conclusion
Study Passes ScreensEligible for Review

Study Design Details

RatingDesignAttritionBaseline EquivalenceReassignmentConfounding Factors
HighRandomized controlled trialLowEstablished on race and socioeconomic statusNoneNone

Study Characteristics

Study Participants

Mother-infant pairs were recruited from hospitals serving families from lower-income backgrounds and assigned to one of two intervention groups: PALS I or a Developmental Assessment of Skills (DAS) comparison group. Initially 264 mother-infant pairs were randomly assigned, 131 to the treatment group and 133 to the comparison group. After attrition, 241 mother-infant pairs (121 PALS I and 120 DAS) remained in the study. Approximately one-third of each group was African American, Hispanic, or Caucasian. Most were poor and unmarried. Mothers were all 18 years old or older at intake, and averaged 27.8 years old in the treatment group and 27.0 years old in the comparison group. On average, mothers had 12.6 years of education in both groups. Participants were followed over the course of 10 visits.

Guttentag et al. (2006) and Smith et al. (2006) used the same sample as this study and described an analytic sample of this size and composition. Although the two studies do not include outcomes that are eligible for the HomVEE review, their information about the analytical sample size and composition provide an additional source of information for evaluating the Landry et al. (2006) study.


The study was conducted in the Houston-Galveston (Texas) area.

Home Visiting Services

PALS I consists of a series of 10 home visits, each lasting 1.5 hours and occurring approximately weekly. The home visits are guided by a curriculum that included (1) asking mothers to review their experiences across the past week related to their efforts to try targeted behaviors, (2) describing the current visit’s targeted behavior, (3) watching and discussing with mothers the educational videotape of mothers from similar backgrounds, (4) videotaping mothers interacting with their infants in situations that the mothers selected with coaching, (5) supporting mothers to critique their behaviors and the infants’ responses during the videotaped practice, and (6) planning with mothers how to integrate responsive behaviors into their everyday activities with laminated cards. The facilitator coached the mothers to use the targeted behaviors, including commenting on the infants’ responses when the behaviors were used. Sessions were available in both English and Spanish.

Comparison Condition

Comparison group members received the same number of home visits from facilitators, which included discussions about new infant skills during the previous week and infant development and assessment. Facilitators provided mothers with answers to and handouts about their questions on infant skill development.

Staff Characteristics and Training

Facilitators, who had bachelor’s or master’s degrees, were trained to use the curriculum in a flexible manner to meet the learning needs of individual families. Training included review of videotaped facilitated sessions and coaching by a supervisor.

Funding Source

Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, Grant HD36099.

Author Affiliation

Susan Landry, a study author, is a developer of this program model.


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