A Randomized Controlled Trial of Healthy Families: 6-Month and 1-Year Follow-Up
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Home visitation research remains on the forefront as policy makers look to evidence for programs they believe are worthy of investment, particularly in terms of child abuse prevention. A randomized controlled trial (N = 245) of the Healthy Families Arizona home visitation program was conducted. Outcomes were assessed across several key domains related to child abuse and neglect: safety and resources, parenting attitudes and behaviors, health and maternal outcomes, and mental health and coping. Findings revealed significant differences between the groups at both 6-month and 1-year follow-up assessments on use of resources, mobilizing resources, home environment, subsequent pregnancy, positive affect, and problem solving favoring the Healthy Families group. A significant difference was also found between the groups on total violence measured at the 1-year follow-up favoring the Healthy Families group. A qualitative linguistic inquiry and word count analysis was conducted of parent’s descriptions of their children and their parenting experiences. Results again revealed significant differences between the groups in narrative descriptions that favored the Healthy Families group. Implications of these findings are discussed in light of the existing evidence for home visitation programs.
KeywordsHome visitation Child abuse and neglect Prevention Randomized trial Quantitative Evidence-based practice Mixed methods Community-based research Program evaluation Outcome study
This research was funded by the Rigorous Evaluation of Existing Child Abuse Prevention Programs, Children’s Bureau, Award 90CA178.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All assessments and procedures performed in this study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments.
Informed consent was obtained from all participants included in the study.
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