Background: Mother-infant interactions have been acknowledged as one of the most important elements in measuring outcomes of parent support and infant mental health interventions. The present study was conducted to measure early intervention outcomes using the Nursing Child Assessment Teaching Scale (NCATS), and to identify factors that affected Japanese mother-infant interactions. Methods: Healthy Japanese mother-infant dyads who had lower scores on the NCATS, indicating potential problems, were assigned to an intervention group, and compared with a control group who had higher scores on NCATS. Health-care professionals visited the intervention group dyads in their homes, and gave them positive feedback on their interactions, consultations on parenting, and health advice. The control group dyads had home visitation once every 6 months for assessment only. Results: The home visitations started at 3 months of age and continued until 18 months. NCATS scores in both groups were significantly different at baseline but differences faded by the end, which suggests that the intervention promoted improved interactions in the intervention group. Two of five factors were identified as influencing mother-infant interactions: maternal age; and personal networks, and together they significantly explained 27-30% of NCATS variance. Conclusion: The results appear to support the validity of measuring Japanese mother-infant interactions with NCATS. This study is the first to measure the outcomes of early intervention on Japanese dyads' interactions using NCATS. Additional replication studies should be conducted elsewhere in Japan, and clinical practices for promoting mother-infant interactions should begin to assess their effectiveness with NCATS as an outcome measure.
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