Importance: A child’s independent mobility, environments, and mastery motivation are critical factors during early development.
Objective: To examine the effectiveness of ride-on car (ROC) training with a standing (ROC–Stand) or a sitting posture (ROC–Sit) in enhancing children’s mastery motivation and decreasing parenting stress levels.
Design: Randomized controlled trial (RCT) with a multiple pretest–posttest design.
Setting: Hospital-based environment in northern Taiwan.
Participants: Thirty-nine children with disabilities ages 1 to 3 yr were randomly assigned to ROC–Stand (n = 16), ROC–Sit (n = 12), or conventional therapy (control; n = 11). All groups received 2-hr training sessions two times a week for 12 wk and then a 12-wk follow-up period that involved only regular therapy.
Measures: Assessments included the Revised Dimensions of Mastery Questionnaire–Chinese version and the Parenting Stress Index.
Results: All groups showed significant changes in social persistence with adults, mastery pleasure, and general competence after the intervention. The two ROC training groups showed a significantly greater decrease in parenting stress than the control group. In addition, increased general competence of the ROC–Stand group also strongly correlated with decreased parent–child dysfunctional interaction.
Conclusions and Relevance: This RCT verifies the effectiveness of ROC training and offers a novel approach to increase children’s mastery motivation and decrease parenting stress.
What This Article Adds: Providing a large amount of active, exploratory experiences with goal-directed, moderately challenging tasks and cooperation with caregivers may result in the greatest benefits to young children with motor disabilities.