Cell phones and the measurement of child neglect: The validity of the parent-child activities interview

Academic Article


  • Two multisite studies were conducted to assess the feasibility of using cell phone interviews (the Parent-Child Activities Interview) to learn more about the quality of daily parenting among high-risk mothers, including child neglect. In Study 1, 45 primiparous teenage mothers with 3- to 9-month-old infants were recruited and randomly assigned to two groups: one received frequent cell phone interviews and the other group less frequent interviews over their home telephone. Relationships among paper-and-pencil surveys of parenting (gathered in person) and a Parenting Essentials score (coded from the phone interviews) were significantly correlated. In Study 2, adolescent and adult mothers and their first-born children ( n = 544) completed 2 observations of parenting in their home as well as a series of 3 PCA calls at ages 4 and 8 months. Parenting Essentials coded from the interviews were significantly related to observed measures of parenting at both time points. The Parent-Child Activities Interview shows promise as a reliable and valid measure of parenting, capturing frequent and detailed information about daily parenting practices. Cell phones may prove useful in intervening with mothers at risk of suboptimal parenting and child neglect. © 2008 Sage Publications.
  • Published In

  • Child Maltreatment  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Lefever JB; Howard KS; Lanzi RG; Borkowski JG; Atwater J; Guest KC; Ramey SL; Hughes K
  • Start Page

  • 320
  • End Page

  • 333
  • Volume

  • 13
  • Issue

  • 4