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Am J Public Health. 1980 Nov;70(11):1180-8.

A follow-up study of parent education in pediatric office practices: impact at age two and a half.


The relationship between physician efforts to educate mothers of first born children about child behavior and development, and various outcome measures of mother and child functioning has been extended from 18 months to a time period of two and a half years. As was found earlier, there was a modest relationship between physician effort and mother gain in knowledge about child development, her feeling of being supported by the practice in her child-rearing role, and the frequency of her participation in affectional and cognitively stimulating activities with her child. These relationships, however, did not significantly increase in strength over time. At the end of 30 months there were still no significant positive relationships between teaching input and the child's developmental status, and mothers receiving care form physicians who taught more continued to report more behavior problems with their child than mothers receiving care from physicians who taught less. A content analysis of a small sample of the visits of high and low scoring physicians indicated that neither focused their teaching efforts on ways that mothers could interact with their children in more affectionate and cognitively stimulating ways. It is suggested that more focused teaching in this area might lead to better child development outcomes.

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