In addition to the rigorous evaluations of the MOMS Partnership® (see our Impact page for more), we engage in research to inform how we design and refine the program - and share what we're learning with the field.
The MOMS Partnership® Needs Assessment
In 2010, the MOMS Partnership began its work in New Haven by asking mothers themselves about what they need and want for their own lives and their families' futures. To date, we've interviewed over 4,000 women, and what we learn has helped us design a program that is truly responsive to what many in our target population are experiencing.
Specifically, after interviewing 1,112 moms, we found the following factors placed mothers at high risk for poor outcomes for themselves and their children (ranked in order):
- Poverty, not specifically defined by mothers as lack of money, but rather defined as tangible, basic needs related to parenting-diapers, food, child care, clothing, and unstable housing;
- Social isolation; and
- High levels of maternal mental illness or "stress," defined by mothers to include psychiatric symptoms and actual depressive, anxiety and addictive disorders.
You can see direct links between these findings and the design of the MOMS Partnership model. For example, three of the four MOMS interventions are group-based to help stimulate social connection.
Download the Needs Assessment Questionnaire: English
Download the Needs Assessment Questionnaire: Spanish
A key part of what we do is generating and sharing knowledge. We are committed to not only using data internally to design and refine our model to serve women as effectively as possible - but we are also committed to helping the field learn alongside with us.
- McMickens CL, Clayton A, Rosenthal MS, Wallace L, Howell HB, Bell G, Smith MV: A Qualitative Exploration of Mothers' Experiences Receiving Mental Health Services in a Supermarket Setting. Matern Child Health J. 2019 Jan 29; 2019 Jan 29. PMID: 30694441
- Dau ALBT, Callinan LS, Smith MV: An examination of the impact of maternal fetal attachment, postpartum depressive symptoms and parenting stress on maternal sensitivity. Infant Behav Dev. 2019 Jan 15; 2019 Jan 15. PMID: 30658270
- Lange BCL, Callinan LS, Smith MV: Adverse Childhood Experiences and Their Relation to Parenting Stress and Parenting Practices. Community Ment Health J. 2018 Sep 7; 2018 Sep 7. PMID: 30194589
- Wallace LR, Weir AM, Smith MV: Policy Impact of Research Findings on the Association of Diaper Need and Mental Health. Womens Health Issues. 2017 Oct 17. PMID: 29050653
- Lange BCL, Dau ALBT, Goldblum J, Alfano J, Smith MV: A Mixed Methods Investigation of the Experience of Poverty Among a Population of Low-Income Parenting Women. Community Ment Health J. 2017 Oct; 2017 Feb 6. PMID: 28168431
- Austin AE, Smith MV: Examining Material Hardship in Mothers: Associations of Diaper Need and Food Insufficiency with Maternal Depressive Symptoms. Health Equity. 2017; 2017 Sep 1. PMID: 29082357
- Yonkers KA, Forray A, Smith MV: Maternal Antidepressant Use and Pregnancy Outcomes. JAMA. 2017 Aug 15. PMID: 28810017
- Dau ALBT, Callinan LS, Mayes LC, Smith MV: Postpartum depressive symptoms and maternal sensitivity: an exploration of possible social media-based measures. Arch Womens Ment Health. 2017 Feb; 2016 Jul 14. PMID: 27416930
- Claydon E, Zerwas S, Callinan LS, Smith MV: Parental reflective functioning among mothers with eating disorder symptomatology. Eat Behav. 2016 Dec; 2016 Sep 14. PMID: 27718453
- Norton MK, Smith MV, Magriples U, Kershaw TS: Masculine Ideology, Sexual Communication, and Sexual Self-Efficacy Among Parenting Adolescent Couples. Am J Community Psychol. 2016 Sep; 2016 Aug 19. PMID: 27539234
- Claydon E, Austin A,Smith MV: Linking Obesity Prevention and Mental Health Promotion to Address Health Disparities. Community Ment Health J. 2016 May; 2015 Aug 25. PMID: 26303902
- Smith MV, Gotman N, Yonkers KA. "Early Childhood Adversity and Pregnancy Outcomes. Matern Child Health J. 2016 Apr. PMID: 26762511
- Smith MV, Kruse-Austin A: A gender-informed model to train community health workers in maternal mental health. Eval Program Plann. 2015 Aug; 2014 Dec 10. PMID: 25534578
- Smith MV, Costello D, Yonkers KA: Clinical correlates of prescription opioid analgesic use in pregnancy. Matern Child Health J. 2015 Mar. PMID: 24951127
- Seil KS, Desai MM Smith MV: Sexual orientation, adult connectedness, substance use, and mental health outcomes among adolescents: findings from the 2009 New York City Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Am J Public Health. 2014 Oct; 2014 Aug 14. PMID: 25121812
- Yonkers KA, Smith MV, Forray A, Epperson CN, Costello D, Lin H, Belanger K: "Pregnant women with posttraumatic stress disorder and risk of preterm birth. JAMA Psychiatry. 2014 Aug. PMID: 24920287
- Smith MV, Kruse A, Weir A, Goldblum J: Diaper need and its impact on child health. Pediatrics. 2013 Aug; 2013 Jul 29. PMID: 23897910
- Smith MV, Sung A, Shah B, Mayes L, Klein DS, Yonkers KA: Neurobehavioral assessment of infants born at term and in utero exposure to serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Early Hum Dev. 2013 Feb; 2012 Sep 20. PMID: 22999988
- Yonkers KA, Norwitz ER, Smith MV, Lockwood CJ, Gotman N, Luchansky E, Lin H, Belanger K: Depression and serotonin reuptake inhibitor treatment as risk factors for preterm birth. Epidemiology. 2012 Sep. PMID: 22627901
- Yonkers KA, Gotman N, Smith MV, Forray A, Belanger K, Brunetto WL, Lin H, Burkman RT, Zelop CM, Lockwood CJ: Does antidepressant use attenuate the risk of a major depressive episode in pregnancy? Epidemiology. 2011 Nov. PMID: 21900825
- Smith MV, Lincoln AK: Integrating social epidemiology into public health research and practice for maternal depression. Am J Public Health. 2011 Jun; 2011 Apr 14. PMID: 21493925
- Smith MV, Shao L, Howell HB, Lin H, Yonkers KA: Perinatal depression and birth outcomes in a Healthy Start project. Matern Child Health J. 2011 Apr. PMID: 20300813
- Smith MV, Gotman N, Lin H, Yonkers KA: Do the PHQ-8 and the PHQ-2 accurately screen for depressive disorders in a sample of pregnant women? Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2010 Sep-Oct; 2010 Jun 22. PMID: 20851275
- Yonkers KA,Smith MV, Gotman N, Belanger K: Typical somatic symptoms of pregnancy and their impact on a diagnosis of major depressive disorder. Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2009 Jul-Aug; 2009 Apr 15. PMID: 19555792
- Smith MV, Shao L, Howell HB, Wang H, Poschman K, Yonkers KA: Success of mental health referral among pregnant and postpartum women with psychiatric distress. Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2009 Mar-Apr; 2008 Dec 3. PMID: 19269536
- Yonkers, KA, Smith MV, Lin H, Howell HB, Shao L, Rosenheck RA: Depression screening of perinatal women: an evaluation of the healthy start depression initiative. Psychiatr Serv. 2009 Mar. PMID: 19252044
- Rogal SS, Poschman K, Belanger K, Howell HB, Smith MV, Medina J, Yonkers KA: Effects of posttraumatic stress disorder on pregnancy outcomes. J Affect Disord. 2007 Sep; 2007 Feb 8. PMID: 17291588
- Smith MV, Poschman K, Cavaleri MA, Howell HB, Yonkers KA: Symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder in a community sample of low-income pregnant women. Am J Psychiatry. 2006 May. PMID: 16648330
- Feinberg E, Smith MV, Morales MJ, Claussen AH, Smith DC, Perou R: Improving women's health during internatal periods: developing an evidenced-based approach to addressing maternal depression in pediatric settings. J Womens Health. 2006 Jul-Aug. PMID: 16910901
- Smith MV, Rosenheck RA, Cavaleri MA, Howell HB, Poschman K, Yonkers KA: Screening for and detection of depression, panic disorder, and PTSD in public-sector obstetric clinics. Psychiatr Serv. 2004 Apr. PMID: 15067153
- Yonkers KA, Smith MV, Brunetto W, Cavaleri MA: Recognizing depression in gynecologic patients. Contemporary Ob/Gyn. 2004 Jun 1
- Smith MV, Brunetto W, Yonkers KA: Identifying perinatal depression -- sooner is better. Contemporary Ob/Gyn. 2004 Apr 1
Case Reports, Technical Notes
- Smith MV, Yonkers KA "Mood disorders in perinatal women." American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) Precis, May, 2005.
Embracing 2-Gen: Findings from the District of Columbia’s TANF Survey
As part of our collaboration with the Washington, DC, Department of Human Services (DHS) to replicate MOMS in DC, we have assisted DC DHS with a survey of parents who receive benefits through DC’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. In April 2018, a new Two-Generation (2-Gen) Policy took effect, ushering in a set of reforms to better serve both parents and children. With philanthropic support, MOMS is providing DHS free technical assistance – specifically in designing the survey, developing the methodology, and analyzing the data in partnership with DHS -- to assess the impact of these policy changes at baseline and in future years on financial, health, and well-being indicators.
Conducted in Spring 2018, the baseline survey of 565 DC customers receiving TANF serves as a point of comparison for the effects of 2-Gen Policy, but it also provides insights that can help DHS and MOMS best meet the needs of families. For example, we found that the majority of customers actually screened positive for depressive symptoms indicative of clinical depression (60%) despite nearly half reporting their emotional health as “Excellent” or “Good.” In our final report “Embracing 2-Gen: Findings from the District of Columbia’s TANF Survey,” we describe both the details of our findings and recommendations for how this information can guide future initiatives.
You can read the full report here.
We look forward to continuing to partner with DHS to tailor MOMS to meet the needs in DC surfaced by this survey.
Research in Partnership with the National Diaper Bank Network on Diaper Need
Nationwide, one in three families with young children reports experiencing diaper need, a challenge which threatens the mental health of parents and interferes with their ability to access childcare and attend work. MOMS is collaborating with Yale New Haven Hospital and the National Diaper Bank Network on a study that tests a new approach we're exploring to reduce diaper need and its impact on a family’s health and economic success. Check back for updates on our ongoing research and new findings on diaper need.