Child: care, health and development 19755 i , 389-396
Mothers and their disturbed preschool children: an intervention study W. S. MITCHELL,* B. ROTHWELL AND W. BURTEt^SU^'W
The London Hospital Medical College
Accepted for publication 11 September 1975
SUMMARY Children who had attended a unit for disturbed preschool children were followed up and compared to a group of children whose families had turned dovra the offer of a place at the unit. Measures of home and school behaviour and of social stress factors operating on the family were collected. Although treated and control children were comparable on severity of symptoms on referral, treated children showed a greater reduction in reported problem behaviour at home than did controls by the time of the follow-up interview. Attendance at the unit had a limited effect on behaviour at school, however. It is suggested that if a treatment for preschool children is to have broad goals including increased competence at school as well as a reduction in problem behaviour at home, then various treatment strategies should be devised to meet these different goals.
Although a number of special nurseries for disturbed preschool children have been described (Freud 1966; Frommer 1967; Bentovim & Boston 1973), few attempts have been made to evaluate their therapeutic effectiveness. The London Hospital Pre-School unit was established in 1969, and is described in Lindsay-German & Coleman (1971). The focus ofthe therapeutic intervention at that time was on the mother-child relationship which involved a very heavy time commitment on the part of mothers to attend the unit. In 1973 the emphasis of treatment changed, becoming considerably less concerned with the dynamics of mother-