Yarger, H. A., Bronfman, E., Carlson, E., & Dozier, M. (2019). Intervening with Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up to decrease disrupted parenting behavior and attachment disorganization: The role of parental withdrawal. Development and Psychopathology. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954579419000786

Citation Year
Used in Implementation Reports
Study Participants

This randomized controlled trial (RCT) assigned eligible families to either ABC-Infant or a comparison home visiting program. Eligible families were participants in a foster care diversion program with children younger than 2 years who were referred to the program from Child Protective Services for various issues placing children at risk (for example, domestic violence, parental substance use, homelessness, or neglect). A total of 105 mother-child dyads were included in the study at follow-up (50 in the ABC-Infant group and 55 in the comparison group). In the ABC-Infant group, 64 percent of children were African American, 12 percent were Caucasian, 24 percent were biracial, and 20 percent were Latino. The majority (56 percent) of households reported an annual income of less than $10,000.


The study was conducted in a large mid-Atlantic city.

Home Visiting Services

ABC-Infant consisted of 10 weekly hour-long home visits. The sessions focused on five topic areas: providing nurturance, following the child’s lead, refraining from frightening behavior, parents recognizing the effect of their own childhood experiences on their parenting behavior, and learning the importance of touch and children’s emotions. Across all sessions, parent trainers engaged parents in structured activities with their children and then provided feedback on observations of participants’ parenting behavior, both in real-time and by playing back video recordings from the sessions. 

Comparison Conditions

Comparison families received Developmental Education for Families (DEF) in home visits that were the same duration (10 hour-long sessions) and frequency (weekly) as ABC-Infant. DEF was designed to enhance cognitive and linguistic development. For this study, the components related to parental sensitivity were removed to distinguish it from ABC-Infant.

Staff Characteristics and Training

The staff in both groups were selected based on their experience in working with children and their interpersonal skills. Parent coaches received training and supervision as appropriate to their roles.

Author Affiliation

Mary Dozier, one of the authors of the study, is a developer of the ABC home visiting program model. Elisa Bronfman, another author, is a developer of the current Atypical Maternal Behavior Instrument for Assessment and Classification (AMBIANCE) manual.

Funding Sources

This research was supported by Award Numbers R01MH052135, R01MH074374, and R01MH084135 from the National Institute of Mental Health.

Study Reg

Clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT02093052. Study registration was assessed by HomVEE beginning with the 2014 review.

Confounding Factors
Baseline Equivalence
Established on race/ethnicity and SES; outcomes not feasible to assess at baseline
Screening Decision
Passes screens