Direct-to-Consumer Marketing for Parent-Child Interaction Therapy: Impact of Language and Messenger

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Objectives: Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) is an effective therapy to treat early onset disruptive behavior problems and child physical maltreatment. In order to support the successful implementation and sustainment of PCIT, strategies are needed to recruit parents into care, especially for racial and ethnic minority families, who often have lower rates of access and utilization of mental health services. Methods: This study investigated the impact of direct-to-consumer advertisements on parents’ attitudes towards PCIT. Advertisements were delivered in Spanish and English, with either a parent testimony or therapist explaining the treatment. Participants were parents of children between the ages of 2 and 7, who were recruited through Amazon Mechanical Turk. Participants (N= 204) were 38.2% female and 49.5% Spanish speaking. Results: There were no main effects for language or messenger related to PCIT Help-Seeking Intentions, Attitudes, or Stigmatization. However, there was an interaction effect for language and messenger for PCIT Help-Seeking Intentions. Specifically, Spanish-speaking participants had higher intentions when the messenger was a therapist rather than a parent, and had lower intentions than English-speaking parents when the messenger was a parent. Conclusions: These findings are promising for direct-to-consumer advertising strategies that may help recruit more Spanish-speaking families into PCIT, which could help address disparities in access to mental health services.




Barnett, M. L., Bernal, N. A., & Sanchez, B. E. L. (2020). Direct-to-Consumer Marketing for Parent-Child Interaction Therapy: Impact of Language and Messenger. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 29(1), 71–81.

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