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KIPS: An Evidence-Based Tool for Assessing Parenting Strengths and Needs in Diverse Families

Comfort, Marilee PhD, MPH; Gordon, Philip R. PhD; Naples, Denise MSW

doi: 10.1097/IYC.0b013e3182001bd3

The movement toward evidence-based practices has stimulated greater interest in assessing parenting outcomes. The purpose of these studies was to further validate the Keys to Interactive Parenting Scale (KIPS), a structured observational assessment of parenting quality, with 397 diverse families. Factor analysis demonstrated that the 12 KIPS items comprise one construct that explained 60% of the variance and showed high internal consistency (the Cronbach's α = 0.95). Analyses of KIPS mean scores did not detect significant differences in parenting quality among African American, White, and Latino parents observed during parent-child play. Parents rated by home visitors as more engaged in services showed higher quality parenting (r = 0.22, P < .0001). KIPS scores correlated significantly with the Nursing Child Assessment Teaching Scale Caregiver Total (r = 0.35, P = .0001) and subscales (Response to Distress r = 0.38, P < .0001; Social-Emotional Growth Fostering r = 0.29, P = .001; Cognitive Growth Fostering r = 0.19, P = .03), and Home Observation for Measurement of the Environment subscales (Acceptance r = 0.23, P = .01; Responsivity r = 0.19, P = .038). These findings, together with previous research, demonstrate the reliability, validity, evaluative value, and clinical relevance of KIPS. KIPS offers a practical tool that providers can use in collaboration with families to tailor services to diverse families, track progress, and demonstrate outcomes.

Comfort Consults, LLC, Cheyney, Pennsylvania (Drs Comfort and Gordon); and Healthy Families Virginia, Richmond (Ms Naples).

Correspondence: Marilee Comfort, PhD, MPH, Comfort Consults, LLC, PO Box 82, Cheyney, PA 19319 (

This work was supported by SBIR grant 1 R44 HD048135-02 from the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the NICHD. Comfort Consults obtained approval from the University of Delaware, human subjects review board and the Virginia Department of Health, institutional review board to ensure that the research procedures, consent forms, and measures complied with federal and state guidelines.

We thank Maria Brown, State Director, Healthy Families Virginia, Johanna Schuchert, Executive Director, Prevent Child Abuse Virginia for their wholehearted administrative support, and to all staff and families in the Healthy Families Virginia programs who so kindly participated in the study. We thank Tamson Kelly Noel, Monica Sullivan, Nilsa Rodriguez, Teresita Cuevas, Patricia Place, Amanda Spires, and Ryan Burt, the project coders who devoted extensive time and effort to scoring the play and teaching videos. Finally, we also thank Alan Sockloff for his statistical expertise and guidance in the data analyses and interpretation of results.

©2011Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.