Observer Impressions (Parent-Youth Interaction Task)


Observer Impressions is a live rating system used to code the three observational tasks that children engage in with their Primary Caregiver: Daily Debriefing Task (4 minutes), Problem Solving Activity (7 minutes), and Planning a Positive Activity (5 minutes). The sequence of tasks is always the same, and occurs in the child's home, at grades 5 and 8. Observer Impressions is a 58-item measure that consists of three types of ratings completed by the child interviewer. The frequencies of various behaviors by parent and child are rated on a 3 point scales. For the most part, the same behaviors are rated for each of the tasks, except for 3 task-specific codes.

Categories of ratings are based in part on the Oregon Social Learning Center's Lab Task Impressions Rating Scale (5th Grade), which can be found online via OSLC's website (

Scales for the PCIT Observer Impressions Scale (Grade 5+) were obtained from exploratory factor analyses utilizing an Alpha extraction with an orthogonal rotation on responses from the Normative sample (n=318). Separate analyses were conducted on the Parent and Child items. Items 37, 56, 57, and 58 were excluded from the scaling. The results indicated 5 factors or scales for the Parent items and 6 scales for the Child items. Each scale score was calculated by taking an average of items comprising the scale if 50% or more of the item responses were available. The resulting scales, associated reliability estimates and descriptive indices for the Normative (Norm) and High Risk Control (HRC) samples are provided below. A more detailed discussion of the scaling procedure can be found in the addendum.

All scales used in this Technical Report aggregate similar items across the 3 tasks in which parent-child dyads participated. Analysts interested in task-related differences in behavior will need to consider an alternate scaling algorithm. A note of caution that the Alpha coefficients for the Parent Negative Physical Contact and the Child Appropriate Emotional Expression scales are quite low. For the Parent Negative Physical scale, this is likely due to extremely low variability of the items that comprise that scale. Despite this circumstance, a decision to retain this scale was made on the basis that although infrequent, the presence of this behavior during the interaction may be very meaningful.

Dataset Names

Raw Dataset Name: OxM
Scored Dataset Name: PCTx


Child Behavior, Positive Parenting, Punishment, Task Orientation.