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Many young children in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) are at risk of developmental delays. Early child development (ECD) interventions have been shown to improve outcomes, but few interventions have targeted culturally normative violence such as corporal punishment (CP). We partnered with an existing community-based ECD organization in the LMIC of Grenada to implement a parallel controlled-trial single-blind responsive caregiving intervention that educates parents about the developing brain and teaches alternatives to corporal punishment while building parental self-regulation skills and strengthening social-emotional connections between parent and child. Parents and primary caregivers with children under age two were eligible. Allocation to the intervention and waitlist control arms was unblinded and determined by recruitment into the program. Neurodevelopment was assessed by blinded testers when each child turned age two. Primary comparison consisted of neurodevelopmental scores between the intervention and waitlist control groups ( registration # NCT04697134). Secondary comparison consisted of changes in maternal mental health, home environment, and attitudes towards CP. Children in the intervention group (n = 153) had significantly higher scores than children in the control group (n = 151) on measures of cognition (p = .022), fine motor (p < .0001), gross motor (p = .015), and language development (p = .013). No difference in secondary outcomes, including CP, was detected.

Original publication




Journal article


Psychosoc Interv

Publication Date





97 - 107


Child neurodevelopment, Corporal punishment, Early child development, Responsive caregiving, Social-emotional connection