Graduation Year


Document Type


Degree Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)


Occupational Therapy


Disorders in mental health are the highest of all disorders and results in the most common form of disability. Since 2011, mental health disorders have increased at alarming rates. It is estimated that 9.5 to 14.2% of children between the ages of 0 to 5 years have and emotional or behavioral problem. The mental health of parents or caregivers can affect and impact the development of young children (Nelson & Mann, 2011, Zero to Three, 2004).

The over arching goal of this research is to explore issues of mental health within parent-child interactions. Coaching parents during the co-occupation of play improves infant child mental health in addition to developing capacity for ongoing development in occupational performance.

This is a mixed methods approach using a descriptive program design measuring changes in the following 1) parents attachment behaviors; 2) child’s occupational performance and 3) core competencies of social emotional development

Positive results were identified in all outcomes when intervention focused on parent engagement fostering social emotional development during the co-occupation of play using a coaching, family capacity-building approach within the home setting.

Therefore, intervention that focuses on parent-child interactions with a coaching model along with a family-capacity approach can improve social emotional development skills, occupational performance in addition to reinforcing attachment behaviors between the parent and child.

Faculty Mentor

Shirley P. O'Brien

Department Affiliation

Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

Committee Member

MaryEllen Thompson

Department Affiliation

Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy