Experiences of Mothers Participating in a Mother–Child Video Therapy Program

Barbara Hackley, Monica Hammer, Erika Barnhart, Kelly Abramowitz, Emily Chinitz, Chanchal Sharma, Alan Shapiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Responsive and sensitive parenting promotes the development of self-regulation and lowers stress in children, which in turn is associated with greater educational and economic achievement and better physical and emotional health later in life. Dyadic parent–child video-feedback programs can help parents learn effective parenting skills, yet these programs are estimated to retain only about half of eligible participants. Programs vary widely, and little is known about what is valued by parents who do complete these programs. The purpose of this qualitative study was to understand the goals, experiences, and outcomes important to mothers who completed a video-feedback program. Methods: Transcripts of exit interviews of participants in a video-feedback program (N = 31) were analyzed using qualitative description methodology. Trustworthiness was achieved through deep engagement with the material, following an iterative process in analyzing transcripts, and member checks to confirm results. Results: Mothers enrolled in the program to better understand their child, help their child learn, and to develop closer connections with their child. Elements of the program that helped mothers achieve these goals were (1) positive feedback and support by the therapist, (2) dedicated one-on-one time spent with their infant, (3) help with concrete needs, and (4) learning from watching videotaped play sessions. As a result, mothers reported greater confidence as caregivers, use of more responsive and sensitive parenting strategies, and improvements in their children's behaviors and their own mental health. Discussion: Incorporating elements of the program found to be most useful in this study into video-feedback programs may make video-feedback programs more attractive to parents and increase retention. Midwives and women's health care providers may incorporate elements of the program into their clinical practice and advocacy, with special attention to elements most valued by parents themselves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-106
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Midwifery and Women's Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • infant development
  • maternal responsiveness
  • mother/infant dyad
  • video-feedback program

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Maternity and Midwifery


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