Perceptions of Portuguese psychologists about the acceptability of a child intervention targeted at inhibited preschoolers

Maryse Guedes, Stephanie Alves, António J. Santos, Manuela Veríssimo, Andrea Chronis-Tuscano, Christina Danko, Kenneth H. Rubin


High and stable behavioral inhibition (BI) during early childhood have been associated with an increased risk of later anxiety disorders and peer difficulties. Developing evidence-based early interventions to prevent these unhealthy developmental trajectories has become a major focus of interest. However, these interventions are not yet available in Europe. This study aimed to explore the perceptions of Portuguese psychologists about the acceptability of the child component of the Turtle Program, before its dissemination in Portugal. Eighteen psychologists were distributed into three focus groups. Each group was moderated by a trained psychologist, using a semi-structured interview guide. The thematic analysis revealed that Portuguese psychologists acknowledged that the intervention needs to go beyond social skills training and enhance children’s positive self-perceptions. Overall, psychologists perceived the structure, contents, activities, and materials of the intervention to be acceptable. However, participants recommended minor modifications to strengthen the connection with naturalistic contexts, broaden the focus on emotional expressiveness and social interaction, and introduce creative activities and materials. These findings are consistent with previous research with LatinX practitioners, who typically agree with the acceptability of evidence-based child intervention principles and only report the need to introduce minor changes related to the way how interventions are delivered to children.


Behavioral inhibition, Preschool years, Social skills facilitated play, Treatment acceptability.


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