Skip Navigation

Study Detail

Madden, J., O’Hara, J., & Levenstein, P. (1984). Home again: Effects of the Mother-Child Home Program on mother and child. Child Development, 55(2), 636–647.

Program(s) Reviewed: Parent-Child Home Program

Additional Sources:

Levenstein, P., O'Hara, J., & Madden, J. (1983). The mother-child home program of the verbal interaction project. In Consortium for Longitudinal Studies (Ed.), As the twig is bent-lasting effects of preschool programs. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates

Study Screening Details

Screening DecisionScreening Conclusion
Study Passes ScreensEligible for Review

Study Design Details

RatingDesignAttritionBaseline EquivalenceReassignmentConfounding Factors
HighRandomized controlled trialLowNot applicableNoneNone

The study had low attrition for four outcomes: 1960 Stanford Binet (1973 – 1976 cohorts), PPVT (1973 – 1975 cohorts), PPVT (1973 – 1974 cohorts), and maternal interactive behavior (1974 – 1976 cohorts).

Study Characteristics

Study Participants

The study included four cohorts of families from 1973 to 1976. To be eligible for the study, the families had to qualify for low-income housing; live in rented housing; and have children 21 to 33 months at the beginning of the program, who could be tested in English. In addition, neither resident parent could have more than a 12th grade education or be in an occupation categorized as higher than “semiskilled.” Across all cohorts, 221 families were randomly assigned. The post-program follow-up included 166 families (86 in the treatment group and 80 in the comparison group). Eighty-eight percent of the sample was African American.


Four suburban areas of New York City.

Home Visiting Services

The program (called the Mother Child Home Program) included 46 home visits each school year (10 month period) for two years. Home visitors, called Toy Demonstrators, met with the family twice a week for half hour sessions. For the first weekly visit, she brought a toy or book and modeled verbal interaction focusing on the toy or book. She also encouraged the mother to participate. The second home visit was a review session on the same toy or book.

Comparison Condition

The comparison condition differed across cohorts. In 1973, the comparison families only participated in the testing. In 1974 and 1975, the comparison families were given toys and books, but did not receive home visits. In 1976, all families were recruited through an Early Screening Program, which included an IQ pretest. Families assigned to the comparison condition were invited to continue in the Early Screening Program, which was not described, but were not told about the treatment program.

Staff Characteristics and Training

The home visitors were either volunteer women or salaried mothers who had previously participated in the program. The Volunteers typically were college graduates and the paid home visitors usually had no more than a high school education. All home visitors participated in a training workshop; weekly group conferences in which verbal interaction skills were modeled; and individual supervision.

Funding Source

Carnegie Corporation of New York, Education Commission of the States, National Institute of Mental Health, and Surdna Foundation.

Author Affiliation



See also…