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MTB Findings

Mother and baby clapping

The MTB-HV intervention has been tested in two federally supported randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in the U.S. Broadly speaking, the health, mental health, public health and life course outcomes from the first stages of analyses have been very encouraging.

In sum, a total of 237 New Haven families were recruited through prenatal providers at two local Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), into two separate RCTs beginning in 2002. Of these, 133 received MTB-HV, and 104 were enrolled in the control group. Participants in the control group received “treatment as usual” at the FQHC, along with intermittent newsletters mailed from MTB staff.

Health, mental health, developmental and relationship assessments were collected at baseline (pregnancy), and then 4, 14, 18, and 24 months postpartum. Comparisons with control families revealed impacts on a number of public health variables: lower rates of obesity and significantly higher rates of normal weight in MTB toddlers , significantly higher rates of on-time pediatric immunization, lower rates of rapid subsequent childbearing, and lower rates of child protection referrals in MTB families.1

MTB parents also became more reflective over the course of the intervention, and MTB infants were significantly more likely to be securely attached and less likely to be disorganized than control group infants.1,2 Parent-child interactions were less disrupted in MTB teen mothers.1 At 1-3 year follow-up, MTB preschoolers had significantly lower rates of maternally reported externalizing (acting out) behaviors.

In a longer-term follow-up study, preliminary analysis of data from MTB families with 4-9 year-old children suggests that MTB toddlers were found to have significantly lower rates of child obesity and were significantly more likely to be of normal weight than controls. MTB preschoolers were found to have significantly lower rates of maternally reported externalizing disorders (acting out behaviors) at 1-3 years post-graduation. Positive mother-child interactions, maternal reflectiveness, secure infant attachment, and lower rates of child behavior disorders all contribute to non-cognitive, socio-emotional development, a key ingredient in school success as well as future wellness.3

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References:

1Sadler, L.S., Slade, A., Close, N., Webb, D.L., Simpson, T., Fennie, K., & Mayes, L.C. (2013). Minding the Baby®: Improving Early Health and Relationship Outcomes in Vulnerable Young Families in an Interdisciplinary Reflective Parenting Home Visiting Program. Infant Mental Health Journal, 34(5), 391-405.

2Slade, A, Holland, M.L., Ordway, M.R., Carlson, E.A., Jeon, S., Close, N., Mayes, L.C., & Sadler, L.S. (2019). Minding the Baby®: Enhancing Parental Reflective Functioning and Infant Attachment in an Attachment-based, Interdisciplinary Home Visiting Program. Development and Psychopathology, 1-15.

3Ordway, M., Sadler, L. S., Holland, M., Slade, A., Close, N., Mayes, L. (2018). A Home Visiting Parenting Program and Child Obesity: A Randomized Trial. Pediatrics, 141(2); e20171076.

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