Caregiver-mediated interventions to support self-regulation among infants and young children (0-5): A protocol for a realist review

Amy Louise Finlay-Jones, Elaine Bennett, Jenny Downs, Sally Kendall, Keerthi Kottampally, Yi Huey Lim, Vincent Mancini, Rhonda Marriott, Helen Milroy, Monique Robinson, Justin Dean Smith, Lauren Wakschlag, Jeneva L. Ohan

Research output: Working paperPreprint


Background and Objectives Self-regulation is a modifiable protective factor for lifespan mental and physical health outcomes. Early caregiver-mediated interventions to promote infant and child regulatory outcomes prevent long-term developmental, emotional, and behavioural difficulties and improve outcomes such as school readiness, educational achievement, and economic success. To harness the population health promise of these programmes, there is a need for more nuanced understanding of the impact of these interventions. The aim of this realist review is to understand how, why, under which circumstances, and for whom, early caregiver-mediated interventions improve infant and child self-regulation. The specific research questions guiding this review were based on consultation with families and community organizations that provide early childhood and family services.

Design, Methods and Analysis Realist reviews take a theory-driven and iterative approach to evidence synthesis, structured around continuous refinement of a programme theory. Programme theories specify context-mechanism-outcome configurations to explain what works, for whom, under which circumstances, and how. Our initial programme theory is based on prior work in this field and will be refined through searching peer-reviewed and grey literature to identify relevant evidence. A working group, comprising service users, community organization representatives, representatives from specific populations, clinicians, and review team members will be formed to guide the evidence synthesis and interpretation, as well as the development and dissemination of recommendations based on the findings of the review. The review will involve searching: (1) electronic databases (e.g. EMBASE, Medline, PsycInfo), (2) connected papers, articles and citations, and (3) grey literature. Decisions to include evidence will be guided by judgements about their contribution to the programme theory and will be made by the research team, with input from the working group as required. Evidence synthesis will be reported using the RAMESES guidelines and disseminated through peer-reviewed publication.

Trial registration number The protocol is registered with Open Science Framework
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Publication statusPublished - 14 Oct 2020

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