Introducing a novel online observation of parenting behavior: Reliability and validation

Oliver, Bonamy R and Pike, Alison. 2021. Introducing a novel online observation of parenting behavior: Reliability and validation. Parenting, 21(2), pp. 168-183. ISSN 1529-5192 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Objective. Observations of parents with their children are important for better understanding the critical role that parents play in their children’s adjustment, but resource limitations commonly compromise assessment. A novel online observation tool, Etch-a-Sketch Online (ESO), is introduced that allows resource-efficient observations in the family home.

Design. Study 1 was a preliminary, cross-sectional study of 20 mothers with their singleton children (M = 5.96 years). Mothers were observed using both ESO (recorded via Skype) and a traditional Etch-a Sketch task recorded during a home-visit; mothers’ positive and negative parenting was coded from these observations. Study 2 was a longitudinal study of 119 mothers and their young twins. Mothers’ ESO-observed positive parenting and negative parenting at Time 1 (M = 5.51 years) were examined as predictors of children’s disruptive behavior at Time 2 (M = 6.04 years) controlling for mothers’ Time 2 self-reported positive and negative parenting.

Results. Study 1 provided preliminary evidence of inter-rater reliability and convergent validity of ESO-observations. Study 2 supported this evidence of inter-rater reliability and ESO’s convergent validity as well as providing predictive validity. ESO-observed parenting at Time 1 was associated with children’s disruptive behavior at Time 2, over and above concurrent maternal reports of their own parenting.

Conclusions. ESO shows promise in providing the means for detailed assessment of parenting processes in the home.

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This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Parenting on 13/12/2019, available online:


family, parenting, parent-child observation, online, child behaviour

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25 September 2019Accepted
13 December 2019Published Online

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Date Deposited:

26 Sep 2019 08:26

Last Modified:

09 Jun 2021 13:27

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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