University of Bristol
In our original ERC funded MHINT proposal, we hypothesised that a key causal ingredient in the success of parenting interventions is video feedback in the context of positive parenting and sensitive discipline.
The effectiveness of such an approach compared to other parenting interventions (such as psycho-education or home visiting) is being established in our review and component meta-analyses. We have identified a number of studies using this approach based on a model first proposed by Juffer, Bakermans-Kranenburg and van Ljzendoorn (2012).
However, a further aim of MHINT is to use our developments in video capture to enhance video methods both as a research tool and a potential therapeutic tool. The video feedback therapeutic approach consists of video feedback intervention sessions. Parents are recorded by a third party interacting with their infants in a naturalistic free- or structured-play session. These recordings are then discussed at a future session with a trained professional, who will have carefully selected strength-based moments to show the parent.
Strength-based moments include moments that highlight the sensitive, responsive, nurturing and competent behaviour of the mother/caregiver. This could be turning the attention to the child’s vocalisation, a smile, a caring and gentle touch etc. The focus should be on something the therapist wants to reinforce, not on something that should be ‘corrected’. Parents are then supported in observing their own behaviours and their child’s responses, thereby improving their observational skills, awareness and empathy.
The wearable ‘headcam’ technology developed in MHINT could provide an advancement that could facilitate video-feedback aims. A key goal of video feedback is to act as reflection and speak for the baby, which involves the mother seeing the world from her baby’s viewpoint and thus responding to the baby’s emotional needs.
The video capture method, developed as part of MHINT, records from the first-person viewpoint. We hypothesise that reviewing headcam footage in an interventional context could facilitate mothers’ ability to see their interactions through their babies’ eyes and re-live the interaction through their own eyes, encouraging observational skills and empathy for the child. This, in turn, may improve the parent’s reflective ability to think about the child’s and their own emotional needs.
However, this is currently only a hypothesis, and it is essential to incorporate the voices of those with lived experiences to identify opportunities and challenges with this approach. To reach this goal, we propose to conduct a ‘live lab’ exhibition to learn from families themselves and co-create protocols for development (Figure 1). We will initially present our previous footage (Figure 2) and live collected footage collected on the day from individual families. In parallel, as part of the Play Study we plan to pilot this approach in South Africa.
In the case examples in Figure 1, each perspective provides unique information. For example, the mums’ view shows the babies’ expression much more clearly and may allow the mother to re-live that moment. Seeing the baby’s view allows the mother to see herself and her expression as her baby saw them or what the baby was looking at (as in the example where the baby is viewing up close the red box). The third-person perspective shows body postures and the context, so it is also essential to contextualise the first-person perspective. We also need to consider the potential disadvantages of using a first-person perspective. For example, because of its increased immersiveness, it may facilitate a feeling of empathy, change of perspective, or thinking for the baby, but it also may evoke a more intense emotional response.
In our protocol, we will record the family watching the footage to view emotional reactions to each perspective.
- What are the opportunities to include first-person perspective video footage to facilitate learning in video feedback support? What emotions and insights does it evoke in diverse groups of parents and children?
- How do we extend the protocol to older ages? Can children themselves benefit from watching the films?
- How do we adapt to cross-cultural contexts, in the first instance, an African context?
Costantini, I., Paul, E., Caldwell, D.M., López-López, J.A. and Pearson, R.M. (2020) ‘Protocol for a systematic review and network meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials examining the effectiveness of early parenting interventions in preventing internalising problems in children and adolescents’, Systematic Reviews, 9, 244. doi: 10.1186/s13643-020-01500-9.
Juffer, F., Bakermans-Kranenburg, M.J. and van Ijzendoorn, M.H. (eds.) (2007) Promoting Positive Parenting: An Attachment-Based Intervention. 1st edn. Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9780203809624.
Despite decades of research and parenting support programmes, children of mentally ill mothers remain substantially more likely to have mental health problems themselves. In this project, we shed new light on how to harness the potential of modifying parenting for the prevention of child mental health risk, and we study parenting using detailed, ecologically valid and genetically sensitive designs.
The core team involved researchers and students in experimental psychology from Bristol Medical School and the Psychology Departments at Manchester Metropolitan University. Partners include Kinneir Dufort and researchers at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa.
Project lead profile
Rebecca Pearson currently holds a Professorship in Psychology at Manchester Metropolitan University and Bristol Medical School. She combines psychology and epidemiology to focus on novel observational and computational methods to understand parenting and apply this to real-world interventions. Pearson has published over 100 peer review papers included in global media and policy.
Ilaria Costantini, key PhD student
For THE play study contact
This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 758813.