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Study Detail

Caughy, M. O., Huang, K., Miller, T., & Genevro, J. L. (2004). The effects of Healthy Steps for Young Children Program: Results from observations of parenting and child development. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 19(4), 611–630.

Program(s) Reviewed: Healthy Steps (National Evaluation 1996 Protocol)

Study Screening Details

Screening DecisionScreening Conclusion
Study Passes ScreensEligible for Review

Study Design Details

RatingDesignAttritionBaseline EquivalenceReassignmentConfounding Factors
ModerateRCT (16-18 months)HighEstablished on race/ethnicity and SES (i.e., maternal education and Medicaid coverage). Equivalence on baseline measures is not feasible.NoneNone

Study Characteristics

Study Participants The sample included 378 mothers with children ages 16 to 18 months at assessment. All women enrolled in Healthy Steps within four weeks of the child’s birth. Study enrollment occurred between September 1996 and November 1998. Most mothers had a high school degree (86%) and one in five also had a college degree. Study participants tended to be either white (62%) or African American (25%). The most common maternal age groups were 20-29 (57%) and over 30 (25%). Two in three mothers were married.
Setting The study used two of the six randomly assigned pediatric care sites that were part of the national evaluation of Healthy Steps (Amarillo, TX, and Florence, SC). One site was in the southeast and one site was in the southwest. Both sites served economically and racially/ethnically diverse populations.
Home Visiting Services Healthy Steps Specialists provided well-child care, home visits, a child development telephone information line, child development and family health checkups, written materials for parents that emphasize prevention, parent group meetings, and links to community resources. The program offered families nine standard pediatric office visits and six home visits by the time the children were age 3. Healthy Steps families received, on average, two home visits.
Comparison Condition Children in the control group received routine pediatric care but had no exposure to the Healthy Steps Specialist or to Healthy Steps materials.
Staff Characteristics and Training Specialists were early childhood educators, nurses, nurse practitioners, social workers, or professionals with other relevant expertise. Each attended annual trainings conducted by the Boston University Healthy Steps team and administered services in cooperation with pediatricians and pediatric nurse practitioners. Sites also received program and training manuals and technical assistance through biweekly teleconferences. Implementation of written protocols was monitored by the Healthy Steps national program office. See Guyer et al. (2003) for more details.
Funding Source Funder(s) not listed.
Author Affiliation None of the study authors are developers of this program model.


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