Session: Preventive Interventions with Infants and Toddlers and Their Families: The Role of Maternal Mental Health (Society for Social Work and Research 25th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Social Change)

All live presentations are in Eastern time zone.

197 Preventive Interventions with Infants and Toddlers and Their Families: The Role of Maternal Mental Health

Friday, January 22, 2021: 1:15 PM-2:15 PM
Cluster: Child Welfare
Symposium Organizer:
Brenda Jones Harden, PhD, University of Maryland School of Social Work
Sacha Klein, PhD, Michigan State University
Burgeoning evidence in the fields of developmental neuroscience and economics has highlighted the importance of the first years of life for intervention. For example, developmental scholars argue that the plasticity of the brain during early childhood renders children more susceptible to the impact of risk, but also more amenable to the benefits of intervention (Shonkoff, 2010). Further, a series of studies from the field of economics underscores that there is more return on investment (ROI) from early childhood interventions than from interventions begun later in childhood, adolescence, or adulthood (e.g., Heckman & Mosso, 2014). There is substantial evidence regarding the impact of maternal mental health on child outcomes (e.g., Kingston & Tough, 2014). Further, emerging research has documented that maternal mental health may influence whether and how preventive interventions benefit parents and children (e.g., Engle, 2009). In this symposium, researchers will present preliminary data from four original studies examining the impact of preventive interventions for very young children and their families. Each of the studies highlight the role of maternal mental health regarding the effects of these interventions. Using data from a randomized controlled trial, the first presentation examines whether maternal mental and behavioral health problems moderate the effectiveness of a doula home visiting intervention for young (mostly teenage) parents. Findings shows that intervention impacts on parenting behavior and attitudes were greatest among those young women who engaged in high levels of risk-taking behavior. The second presentation describes a community study of a home-based parent-child intervention with primarily immigrant families from Central and South America. Results suggest that caregiver mental health, trauma symptoms and child social-emotional development may improve over the course of the intervention. The third presentation addresses maternal risk factors and their implications for the delivery of an evidence-based, large-scale home visiting intervention Parents as Teachers (PAT). Findings indicate that mothers with depression have a harder time participating in home visiting services, but mothers who access outside mental health treatment stay enrolled longer in PAT. The final presentation summarizes the findings from the implementation of an evidence-based parenting intervention for high-risk families of very young children - Attachment and Bio-behavioral Catch-up (ABC). Specifically, this study documents that maternal psychological risk moderates the impact of ABC on mother-infant dyadic mutuality and toddler behavior problems. A discussant will reflect on the strengths and limitations of all four studies, and their implications for social work practice and research. In sum, the symposium will highlight the import of preventive interventions for very young children and their families, with a particular focus on the role of maternal mental health.
* noted as presenting author
Maternal Psychological Risk Moderates the Impacts of Attachment-Based Intervention on Mother-Toddler Mutuality and Toddler Behavior Problems: A Randomized Controlled Trial
Brenda Jones Harden, PhD, University of Maryland School of Social Work; Tiffany Martoccio, University of Maryland; Lisa Berlin, University of Maryland School of Social Work
Examining Change in Parenting, Mental Health and Early Child Development in Immigrant Families Participating in a Trauma-Focused Intervention
Ruth Paris, PhD, Boston University; Mihoko Maru, MSW, Boston University; Karen Garber, Jewish Family and Children's Services
Addressing Maternal Mental Health to Increase Participation in Home Visiting
Abigail Palmer Molina, MA, University of Southern California; Dorian Traube, PhD, University of Southern California; Allison Kemner, Parents As Teachers
Doula Home Visiting Intervention Effects on Sensitive Parenting and Infant Social-Emotional Development
Renee Edwards, PhD, University of Chicago; Sydney Hans, University of Chicago
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