David Ian Walker, Ph.D., Jean-François Cardin, M.S., Neelu Chawla, M.S., David Topp, Ph.D., Thomaseo Burton, Ph.D., Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth, Ph.D
Young children in military families with a member who has a life changing injury can experience emotional difficulties and behavior changes.
This study evaluated a Sesame Workshop multimedia kit called: Talk, Listen, Connect: Changes (TLC-II(C); 2008). The kit, which included video and print materials, aimed to help caregivers (i.e., at-home partner, at-home relative or family member of a current or discharged military member) assist young children as they adjusted to their parent’s injury. We expected that the materials would be used and their quality evaluated. We hypothesized that use of the materials would produce improvements in caregiver and child outcomes as well as reductions in perceptions of disruption in the home. We also predicted that kit-use would have a positive impact on the family.
One-hundred and fifty three families with children aged 2–8 years were randomly assigned to receive the kit being evaluated (TLC-II(C)) or a control kit (Healthy Habits for Life (HHL)), also developed by Sesame Workshop. Group outcomes were compared four weeks following receipt of the kits using multivariate analysis of variance.
All materials were well used and highly rated. All caregivers reported less social isolation, less child aggression, and significantly less disruptive home environments after kit use. Test group caregivers reported significantly greater reductions in depressive symptoms and significant increases in children’s social competence over time in comparison to the control group.
These results signal important improvements among families as a consequence of using either test or control materials. As a preventative intervention designed for families with an injured member, TLC-II(C) was particularly effective at improving coping.