Current Findings

Mother and baby clapping

MTB clinicians have served over 150 families in New Haven since 2002, while over 250 families have been enrolled in MTB research projects. The intervention has been tested in two federally supported randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Data have been analyzed for 61 Intervention families and 45 Control families from the pilot phase of the work. Data analysis is currently in process for the second, larger scale RCT. Broadly speaking, the health, mental health, public health and life course outcomes from the first stages of analyses have been very encouraging.

Outcomes from the first study include significantly higher rates of on-time pediatric immunization and significantly lower rates of rapid subsequent childbearing in intervention families. Lower rates of child protection referrals were also found, and the most vulnerable mothers were also significantly more likely to parent in a reflective rather than reactive way (Sadler, et al., 2013 Sadler et al., 2016; Slade & Sadler, 2013).

Most promising are the trends being seen in a sample that is comprised largely of teen mothers. There are higher rates of secure attachment and lower rates of disorganized attachment in the intervention children compared to the control group. Disorganized attachment is usually very high in such stressed populations. Increases in maternal reflective functioning are also being noted over the 27 months of the intervention, especially among the most vulnerable mothers. Such developments in mothers are crucial to sensitive mothering, and enhanced affective communication with the baby, and attachment outcomes.

Initial findings also point to a number of positive health outcomes, including high retention rates (90% intervention and 80% control). Additionally, 1.5% of the mothers in the pilot sample of intervention group families have had rapid subsequent childbearing (a second birth within 2 years of the first child), compared to15% of control group mothers reporting rapid subsequent childbearing.

Data analyses from a small follow-up study including 50 of the initial families who were in the project and whose children were between the ages of 3 and 5 years indicate that mothers from the MTB intervention are significantly less likely to describe their children as having behavioral problems than do the parents in the control group. We anticipate the release of the more recent RCT findings in early 2017.