The Mothers and Toddlers Program, an attachment-based parenting intervention for substance using women: post-treatment results from a randomized clinical pilot

Attach Hum Dev. 2010 Sep;12(5):483-504. doi: 10.1080/14616734.2010.501983.


This is a report of post-treatment findings from a completed randomized pilot study testing the preliminary efficacy of the Mothers and Toddlers Program (MTP), a 12 week attachment-based individual parenting therapy for mothers enrolled in substance abuse treatment and caring for children ages birth to 36 months. Forty-seven mothers were randomized to MTP versus the Parent Education Program (PE), a comparison intervention providing individual case management and child guidance brochures. At post-treatment, MTP mothers demonstrated better reflective functioning in the Parent Development Interview, representational coherence and sensitivity, and caregiving behavior than PE mothers. Partial support was also found for proposed mechanisms of change in the MTP model. Together, preliminary findings suggest that attachment-based interventions may be more effective than traditional parent training for enhancing relationships between substance using women and their young children.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Caregivers / psychology
  • Child Behavior
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intention to Treat Analysis
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Maternal Behavior
  • Mother-Child Relations*
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Object Attachment*
  • Parenting / psychology*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Substance-Related Disorders / prevention & control
  • Substance-Related Disorders / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult