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29-09-2021 | Original Article

An Updated Account on Parents’ Use of and Attitudes Towards Time-Out

Child Psychiatry & Human Development
Monica G. Canning, Samantha Jugovac, Dave S. Pasalich
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Time-out (TO) is a well-established technique for effectively managing childhood conduct problems, yet there is increasing controversy around its use. Using a mixed-methods approach, we investigated the impact of recent criticisms against TO on parents’ use of and attitudes towards it. A community sample of parents (N = 297, Mage = 37.14) completed an online survey (Study 1) to investigate use of and acceptability of TO. Results showed that 57.91% of parents reported using TO, slightly lower than past estimates. Perceived effectiveness and trust in clinicians predicted TO acceptability. To thoroughly examine negative attitudes towards TO, parents who did not use TO (N = 17, Mage = 38.29) participated in individual interviews (Study 2). Amongst other findings, Study 2 found that parents view TO as punitive and contrary to their value of connection. We discuss implications for parenting interventions, dissemination of parenting information, and future research.

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