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parent-child interaction, NCAST Teaching Scale, Mother-Infant Communication Screening



  1. Byrne, Mary Woods
  2. Keefe, Maureen R.


Background: The numerous parent-child interaction measures available include few that are appropriate to brief clinical encounters or to research settings where time, cost, space, and subject burden are critical factors.


Objectives: This study compares the newer Mother-Infant Communication Screening (MICS) with the established Nursing Child Assessment Satellite Training (NCAST) Teaching Scale (NCAT).


Methods: Theoretical foundations, development, administration, support, and published psychometrics for the two scales are contrasted. Videotapes of 171 caregiver-child interactions in an urban, Hispanic, high-risk sample (children aged 5 months to 36 months) were scored by two trained coders who had established inter-rater reliabilities of .90 (NCAT) and .85 (MICS).


Results: Validity correlation coefficients were r = .504, p < .001 for total scores and r = .492, p < .001 for the two most comparable subscales. Distress was defined more narrowly by the MICS. Internal consistencies were .89 to .94 (MICS total scores) (depending on choice of subscales used) and .79 (NCAT).


Conclusions: The NCAT has established strengths for use in clinical practice and research and provides dyadic and separate mother and child scores. The MICS is more feasible for brief clinical screening and performed in this study with promising correlate validity and internal consistency across ages (infancy through 3 years). Interpretation would be strengthened if more clinical studies verifying scores with risk categories were performed and if normative data were established.