They argue that health visitors are well placed to screen for problems in the parent-child relationship but little is currently known about how they go about identifying such issues.
The researchers interviewed 24 health visitors, finding that they used a range of known risk factors and intuition. 'In many cases understanding difficulties in parent-child relationships involved piecing together a jigsaw over a considerable time span,' the authors said.
But they added: 'Participants reported a lack of formal training in the assessment of parent-child relationships and were keen to obtain more training.'
International Journal of Nursing Studies (2008) 45: 1137-1147