Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Davis, Thomas. Ph.D.


The purpose of this study is to explore empowerment in Parent‑Child Interaction therapy (PCIT). Research has shown that attachment issues and child maltreatment are serious social problems that may lead to risks of child abuse and children developing mental illnesses. Interventions, like PCIT have shown to decrease these risks by improving the parent‑child interactions by enhancing parent skill levels and by decreasing parent stress levels and child behaviors. The purpose of this study was to examine whether enhancing parent skills and decreasing parent stress levels would therefore increase parent empowerment. This study utilized a quantitative method to examine potential growth in parent empowerment. The current study consisted of 20 cases in which parents completed PCIT and had pre- and post- Dyadic parent‑child interaction coding system (DPICS) and Parent Stress Index (PSI) scores. Results indicated that PCIT enhanced parent skills but did not decrease stress levels as first hypothesized. Therefore, enhanced skills and decreased stress levels were found to not be a sufficient measure of parent empowerment. The PCIT literature has shown that PCIT successfully enhances parent skills, which in turn has shown to decrease the risk of child abuse. It is recommended that individual environmental factors and life stressors be considered in addition to the parents participating in PCIT to better enhance parent empowerment.

Included in

Social Work Commons