Attachment and Biobehavioural Catch-up (ABC) Intervention

Categories

Categories associated with best practice:

  • Infancy (ages 0-2) icon
  • Young Adult (ages 19-24) icon
  • Adult (ages 25-64) icon
  • Best Practices
  • English
  • Healthy child development
  • Home
  • Maternal and Infant Health
  • Mental Health Icon 2
  • Personal health practices and coping skills
  • Preventing Violence Icon 1

Determinants of Health: Personal health practices and coping skills, Social relationships (including those that respect diversity), Healthy child development

Overview

The ABC intervention was designed to enhance sensitive, nurturing care and to decrease frightening behaviour among parents caring for infants (6 months to 2 years of age) who are at risk for neglect and/or maltreatment or who have experienced early adversity. The intervention consists of 10 at-home parent-child sessions. Although session content is guided by a manual, the parent coach’s primary role is to provide ‘‘in the moment’’ feedback about the parent’s interactions with his or her child. Throughout all sessions, the parent coach observes the parent’s behavior and makes comments on behaviors that relate to the intervention targets. This frequent “in the moment” feedback focuses attention on the target behaviors, which is expected to enhance the parents understanding of the content and support the parent in practicing the target behaviors. Along with “in the moment” comments, parent coaches provide video feedback to highlight parents’ strengths, challenge weaknesses, and celebrate changes in behaviors.

Results from randomized control trials find that children in the ABC intervention showed significantly lower rates of disorganized attachment and more normative patterns of diurnal cortisol than children in a control intervention. At pre-school age, children who participated in the program were found to show more advanced executive function than children who participated in a control intervention.

Primary Source Document

K Bernard, M Dozier, J Brick, E Lewis-Morrarty, O Lindheim, E Carlson, Enhancing attachment organization among maltreated children: results of a randomized clinical trial Child Development 2012; 83(2): 623-636.

Contact information of developer(s) and/or implementer(s)

The Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up (ABC) intervention was developed by Dr. Mary Dozier.

Intervention Focus

Intervention Goal / ObjectiveLevel(s) TargetedEquity Focus
Increase child behavioral and biological regulation
  • Community level
  • Individual level
  • Interpersonal level
People living in conditions of disadvantage are explicitly stated to be a target population of the intervention.
Increase child attachment security and decrease disorganized attachment.
  • Community level
  • Individual level
  • Interpersonal level
  • Societal level
People living in conditions of disadvantage are explicitly stated to be a target population of the intervention.
Decrease caregiver frightening behaviors.
  • Individual level
  • Interpersonal level
  • Organizational level
People living in conditions of disadvantage are explicitly stated to be a target population of the intervention.
Increase caregiver nurturance, sensitivity, and delight.
  • Individual level
  • Interpersonal level
People living in conditions of disadvantage are explicitly stated to be a target population of the intervention.

Health Issue(s) that is/are addressed by the Intervention

Health Promotion

  • Maternal and Infant Health
  • Mental Health

Risk Reduction

  • Prevent violence
  • Other

Specific Activities of the Intervention

  • Information sessions offered about a risk factor or condition

Priority/Target Population for Intervention Delivery

Life Stage

  • Infancy (birth to 2 years)
  • Young adult (age 19-24 years)
  • Adults (age 25-64 years)

Settings

Educational Settings

    Community Setting

    • Home
    • Other

    Outcomes

    Outcomes and Impact Chart
    Level of ImpactDescription of OutcomeEquity Focus
    Individual Level32% of the children from the intervention group displayed Attachment Disorganization compared to 57% of those not in the intervention.Reported outcomes do not distinguish findings specific to people living in conditions of disadvantage.

    Adaptability

    Implementation History

    • Multiple implementations - Different settings/populations/providers - The intervention showed significant adaptability as it has been implemented in different settings or with different populations or by different provider(s). This can include multiple implementations during the same time period. Each implementation of the intervention must have been substantially the same and must have demonstrated positive results for the primary objectives of the intervention.

    Expertise Required for Implementation within the Context of the Intervention

    • Specialized skills training provided as part of the Intervention - The intervention does not require individuals or groups with highly specialized training, but requires that individuals or groups be trained as part of the implementation of the intervention.

    Are there supports available for implementation

    Yes.

    Are there resources and/or products associated with the interventions

    Yes. Training sessions are available for individuals who want to become ABC certified trainers. Please visit www.infantcaregiverproject.com for training information.