1. A meta-analysis reviewing the effect of parent-child book reading interventions revealed a positive correlation between such interventions and a broad range of beneficial psychosocial outcomes, including social-emotional competence, quality of life, and parenting competence.
2. The benefits of parent-child book reading interventions were noted across the ages at which the interventions were performed and across various the races and ethnicities of the families participating in the intervention.
Evidence Rating Level: 2 (Good)
Study Rundown: Though parent-child book reading (PCBR) interventions have been demonstrated to positively affect a child’s language and literacy development, less study has focused on how such interventions affect families and children in a broader scope. In this study, researchers completed a meta-analysis of 18 studies involving the psychosocial benefits of early PCBR interventions on both children and their families. The analysis revealed a number of benefits which may be linked to PCBR interventions, such as improved social-emotional competence, quality of life, and reading interest in children. Additionally, there were a number of possible benefits for parents, including improved parenting competence, improved attitudes toward reading with their children, improved quality of their relationships with children, decreased stress or depression in parents. These benefits were seen both across the age groups in which the interventions were performed as well as across the various ethnic and racial backgrounds of the families included in the study. Though the review was limited by marked heterogeneity of the studies included, the analysis does successfully extend the already known benefits of PCBR interventions.
In-Depth [meta-analysis]: In this study, reviewers completed a meta-analysis of 18 studies, which included 19 different interventions and 3264 families, to assess the broader psychosocial benefits of PCBR interventions. Studies were reported using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) reporting standard and were gathered from a number of electronic databases. Studies were included if they met the following criteria: a PCBR intervention group received structured training, supportive materials, or other reading-related services that a control did not; the study was a randomized controlled trial; outcomes measures assess psychosocial functioning of parents and/or children; sufficient data was provided to analyze the effect size; and the study was reported in English and published in a peer-reviewed journal. Specific outcomes measures included social-emotional adjustment, behavioral problems, quality of life, and reading interest in children, as well as stress and/or depression in parents, parenting competence, parent-child relationships, and parental attitude towards reading. Sample sizes across the various studies ranged from 15 to 584, and targeted ages for intervention ranged from infant/toddler to preschool-aged children (3-6 years). Of those studies reporting sufficient data, ~44% of participants were found to be ethnic minorities, and the majority of interventions were delivered to at-risk families. The mean effect on general psychosocial functioning of children and parents of the 19 studies combined was found to be d = 0.185 (95% CI: 0.077 to 0.293), while the results of z tests yielded z = 3.355 (P = .001), meaning the interventions had a small but statistically significant effect on the psychosocial outcomes of children and parents. These positive outcomes were present across both the ethnic and racial groups assessed as well as across the various age groups to which the interventions were deployed.
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