This application outlines a randomized trial of a universal preventive intervention delivered to couples at the transition to parenthood, aimed at enhancing co-parental support and problem solving, decreasing interparental conflict and parental depression, and strengthening warm, engaged parenting among first-time parents. Following on an initial NIMD and NICHD funded pilot study that investigated the potential of the 8-session Family Foundations program, the proposed research will examine intervention effects of Family Foundations when integrated with a typical childbirth education curriculum in a large field trial (total N=440 families). The intervention is to be delivered to the 220 couples randomly assigned to the intervention condition through existing childbirth education departments of local hospitals in two communities. The differing and diverse socio-economic and ethnic/racial background of the two families within the two sites will facilitate examination of the generalization of effects across contexts and family characteristics. Three waves of data will be collected through home visits (pre, post, and follow-up). This project will examine the degree to which the prevention strategy implemented is able to reduce the public health burden of post-natal depression, and to enhance parenting competence and early child adjustment.

Public Health Relevance

This project seeks to test an innovative family-focused intervention for first time parents, which aims to enhance co-parental support and problem solving, decrease interparental conflict and parental depression, and strengthen warm, engaged parenting among first- time parents. The transition to parenthood is a stressful period for many couples. Developing and disseminating new, effective preventive programs such as the one proposed would have substantial public health benefits for couples and their children.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Research Project (R01)
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Study Section
Psychosocial Development, Risk and Prevention Study Section (PDRP)
Program Officer
King, Rosalind B
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Pennsylvania State University
Schools of Allied Health Profes
University Park
United States
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Jones, Damon; Feinberg, Mark; Hostetler, Michelle et al. (2018) Family and Child Outcomes 2 Years After a Transition to Parenthood Intervention. Fam Relat 67:270-286
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