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Study Detail

Barnes, J., Senior, R., & MacPherson, K. (2009). The utility of volunteer home-visiting support to prevent maternal depression in the first year of life. Child: Care, Health & Development, 35(6), 807-816. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2214.2009.01007.x

Program(s) Reviewed: Home-Start

Study Screening Details

Screening DecisionScreening Conclusion
Study Passes ScreensEligible for Review

Study Design Details

RatingDesignAttritionBaseline EquivalenceReassignmentConfounding Factors
ModerateRandomized controlled trialHighEstablished on race/ethnicity, SES and baseline outcomes.YesNone

Study Characteristics

Study Participants The sample included 527 pregnant women who were living in neighborhoods assigned either to Home-Start (n = 274 women) or to the control group (n = 253 women). After discovering that mothers who received Home-Start were significantly different from mothers in the control group, the authors decided to create a matched control sample. Authors present results comparing three groups: (1) mothers living in areas assigned to the Home-Start program who received services, (2) a comparison group of mothers living in areas assigned to Home-Start, but who declined services, and (3) a matched sample of mothers who lived in neighborhoods that were initially assigned to the comparison group. To be eligible, mothers had to have a score of 9 or greater on the Social Disadvantage Screening Index (SDI). Within the analytic sample, mothers had a mean maternal age of 29. In the Home-Start group, almost 83 percent of mothers were white; in the group of mothers who did not receive services (group 2) approximately 73 percent were white; in the matched comparison group (group 3), 86 percent were white.
Setting Three regions in England: North, Midlands, South
Home Visiting Services Home-Start trains parent volunteers to deliver the program. Decisions about the length and intensity of the home visits are made jointly by the Home-Start staff and families. Home visitors provide a range of support including assistance with family tasks, parenting information, and companionship for families.
Comparison Condition There were two comparison groups: (1) mothers who were living in areas originally assigned to receive Home-Start support but who declined, and (2) a matched control group of participants who did not receive any services.
Staff Characteristics and Training The program is staffed primarily by volunteers who are parents in the community. They typically receive ten half-day trainings; two additional training days were added for the group that was the focus of this study.
Funding Source A grant from the Health Foundation, number 1665/608.
Author Affiliation None of the study authors are developers of this program model.

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