Background: The purpose of this paper is to describe the features of the Interaction Rating Scale (IRS) as an evidence-based practical index of children's social skills and parenting. Methods: The participants in our study, which was conducted as part of a Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) project, were 370 dyads of children (aged 18, 30, and 42 month) and 81 dyads of 7-year-old children with their caregivers. The participants completed the five minute interaction session and were observed using the IRS. Results: The results indicated that the IRS can measure children's social skill development and parenting with high validity. Along with the discriminate validity for pervasive development disorder (PDD), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), abuse and maltreatment, a high correlation with the SDQ (Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire), and high reliability, the IRS is effective in describing features of social skill development. Conclusions: The IRS provides further evidence of the fact that in order to study children's social skill development, it is important to evaluate various features of the caregiver-child interaction as a predictor of social skills.
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