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Direct observation testsEdit
Although most psychological tests are "rating scale" or "free response" measures, psychological assessment may also involve the observation of people as they complete activities. This type of assessment is usually conducted with families in a laboratory, home or with children in a classroom. The purpose may be clinical, such as to establish a pre-intervention baseline of a child's hyperactive or aggressive classroom behaviors or to observe the nature of a parent-child interaction in order to understand a relational disorder. Direct observation procedures are also used in research, for example to study the relationship between intrapsychic variables and specific target behaviors, or to explore sequences of behavioral interaction.
The Parent-Child Interaction Assessment-II(PCIA; Holigrocki, Kaminski & Frieswyk, 1999) is an example of a direct observation procedure that is used with school-age children and parents. The parents and children are videotaped playing at a make-believe zoo. The Parent-Child Early Relational Assessment (Clark, 1999) is used to study parents and young children and involves a feeding and a puzzle task. The MacArthur Story Stem Battery(MSSB; Bretherton et al., 1990) is used to elicit narratives from children. The Dyadic Parent-Child Interaction Coding System-II(Eyberg, 1981) tracks the extent to which children follow the commands of parents and vice versa and is well suited to the study of children with Oppositional Defiant Disorders and their parents.
These assessments can the form the basis of interventions for example PCIA-II/MAP Modifying Attributions of Parents Intervention builds on the PCIA-11