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“ You Can Observe a Lot by Just Watching”: Methods for Assessing Parenting. Carla Matias Stephen B.C. Scott Thomas G. O’Connor. Acknowledgements : This work was made possible with funding from the ESRC Methods
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Stephen B.C. Scott
Thomas G. O’Connor
Acknowledgements: This work was made possible with funding from the ESRC Methods
Programme grant, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, The Jacobs Foundation, and the Psychiatry
Research Trust. Additional funding ( CM PhD research) from Ministry of Science & Technology,
1. What are the evidence-based assessments, and is there a methodological “best practice?”
2. How good is the fit between constructs and their measurement?
3. Is there convergence among theories re: measurement?
4. Are there exemplar measures within each measurement approach?
Evidence-based assessments and “best practice”
Are measures “good enough” at capturing central constructs
Theory unto measurement
Exemplars and examples of measurement
Primary Age Learning Skills (PALS Project)(Scott, O’Connor & Futh, 2005
Accessibility & Flexibility - Quick Results
Breadth of Assessment: 1) behaviour over longer time span & in different contexts; 2) Information on behaviour, attitudes, and other aspects of family life
Informant Bias (e.g. distorted recall; social-desirability; interpretation issues, etc)
Method Error (e.g. item-wording and scaling interpretation; not context-specific)Usefulness of Report Methods
Greater Objectivity - Assessing actual rather than reported behaviour
Contextual sensitivity; intensity & frequency of behaviour;
Predictive Validity & Sensitive to change is well-documented
Subject(s) Bias: reactivity effects, e.g., to the camera or researcher
Method Error: 1) Context-specificity (behaviour sampled at one point in time); 2) Observer Bias
Expensive and time-consumingUsefulness of Observational Methods
NB: length of assessment in small print; for observations, add 40’+ for coding; for interviews add 30’+ for coding;
for attachment narratives add 30’+ for coding
No change on questionnaire
Interview - Increases in reported use of ‘calm discipline’ and decreased use of ‘criticism’ but no change in reported use of praise
Changes in Child Behaviour
Questionnaire & Interview: No improvement in child antisocial behaviour, Hyperactivity /ADHD & child emotional symptomsPALS Summary of Findings from Report Methods
Interventions effects may generalize across method & theory
Ethnic differences in observed Sensitive Responding were not found in self-report measures
How families present and represent themselves requires sensitive assessment
Group differences prior to treatment does not imply group moderation of treatment effects
Observed Attention on Task increased, but no change in child behaviour was detected in respondent-based measures
Observed data imply ‘real’ observable change, but the definitions of robust change may imply more than mono-method evidencePALS Study Summary:Value of Observational Methods