Program

Apr 26, 2010

OVERVIEW

This
home-visiting program for teenage mothers attempts to change or to prevent
skewed developmental expectations and undesirable child-rearing attitudes to
appropriate expectations and positive attitudes. In turn, the child will have
more warm and positive experiences with the mother, and he or she will have
fewer developmental delays. The mother is also expected to view her child’s
temperament as less difficult as a result of the intervention, ultimately
resulting in her increased enjoyment of the interactions she has with her child.
The program was found to have desired impacts on the mother’s developmental
expectations of her child, the mother’s child-rearing attitudes, and perceptions
of the baby’s temperament, as well as impacts on the baby’s mental and motor
development.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target
Population:

low-income,adolescent, African-American mothers

Twice a
month, for four months, a trained interventionist and a work/study student who
is adolescent, black, and female visit the homes of mothers who are adolescent
and black. The visits last about half an hour, and include information on
developmental milestones and parenting techniques. The mother is given
suggestions for play and for passive physical exercises to interact with her
baby and to strengthen the baby’s mental and motor development. The home
visitors encourage the mother to perform exercises for five minutes at a time
totaling 25 to 30 minutes per day.

EVALUATIONS OF PROGRAM

Field,
T. M., Widmayer, S. M., Stringer, S., & Ignatoff, E. (1980). Teenage,
lower-class, black mothers and their preterm infants: An intervention and
developmental follow-up. Child Development, 51, 426-436.

Evaluated
Population:

Five
groups of infants (N=150) were recruited: preterm infants and their teenage
mothers (N=60), full-term infants and their teenage mothers (N=30), preterm
infants and their adult mothers (N=30), and full-term infants and their adult
mothers (N=30). The teen mothers were less than 19, had ten years of education
on average, and were living with their parents. One third of the infants were
cared for by grandmothers or other relatives during school hours, when the
mother was in classes.

Approach:
Preterm
infants and their teenage mothers (N=60) were randomly assigned to a
home-visiting treatment group (N=30) and a control group (N=30). The reported
comparisons between these two groups will be shown here. At infant age of four
months, the mother was measured on developmental expectations, child-rearing
attitudes, feeding interactions, face-to-face interactions, blood pressure,
anxiety, and perception of the infant’s temperament. The infant’s weight,
length, head circumference, and blood pressure were assessed.

At eight
months, the infants were measured on mental, motor, and behavioral development,
mother and infant on blood pressure, and the mother reported her perception of
the infant’s temperament. The mothers were rated on emotional and verbal
stimulation provided to the infant at home.

Results:
At four
months the home-visited, preterm infants had significantly heavier weight,
longer length, and higher developmental scores compared with the control group
infants. The home-visited mothers had significantly higher developmental
expectations, meaning more reasonable expectations, compared with control group
mothers. Furthermore, the home-visited mothers had more appropriate
child-rearing attitudes, and they perceived their child’s temperament to be less
difficult, compared with control group mothers. Raters scored both the
home-visited infant-mother pairs significantly more positively for the
face-to-face interaction, compared with the control group infant-mother pairs.
The rest of the measures at four months of the infant’s age were nonsignificant.

At eight
months, the home-visited infants scored significantly higher on mental
development and significantly lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Program impacts were found for how stimulating the home environment was, the
home-visited group had significantly more stimulating environments. Visited
mothers had significantly higher systolic and diastolic blood pressure ratings
compared with the control group mothers, but the visited mothers did rate their
infants as having easier temperaments. The rest of the measures at eight months
of age were nonsignificant.

SOURCES
FOR MORE INFORMATION

References:

Field, T.
M., Widmayer, S. M., Stringer, S., & Ignatoff, E. (1980). Teenage, lower-class,
black mothers and their preterm infants: An intervention and developmental
follow-up. Child Development, 51, 426-436.

KEYWORDS: Infants (0-12 months), Adolescents (12-17), High School, Males and Females
(co-ed), Female-only, Adolescent Mothers, Black/African American, Home-based,
Parent Training/Education, Home Visitation, After School Program, Anxiety
Disorders/Symptoms, Health Status/Conditions, Parent-Child Relationship

Last
Updated on April 26, 2010