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Research Projects


Age-17 Follow-up of Home Visiting Intervention (R01)

Dates: 11/1/2015 - Current


Role: Harriet Kitzman, PhD, RN, FAAN : Co-Investigator
Principal Investigator: David Olds

This study is a longitudinal follow-up of 670 primarily African-American women and their 17-year-old first-born children enrolled since 1990 in a highly significant randomized controlled trial of prenatal and infancy home visiting by nurses. Nurses in this program are charged with improving pregnancy outcomes, child health and development, and maternal economic self-sufficiency. The current study is designed to determine whether earlier program effects on maternal and child functioning lead to less violent antisocial behavior, psychopathology, substance abuse, and risk for HIV; whether these effects are greater for those at both genetic and environmental risk; and whether program effects replicate those found in an earlier trial with whites. To date, the program affected women's prenatal health, fertility, partner relations, and use of welfare; children’s injuries, cognition, language, achievement, depression/anxiety, and use of substances through child age 12. Hypotheses for the proposed follow-up are based upon the pattern of results found to date. Compared to control-group counterparts:

  1. ) the program will continue to improve maternal life-course (fewer short inter-birth intervals, less use of welfare, more stable partner relations), especially for mothers with higher psychological resources;
  2. ) the program will reduce maternal substance use disorders (SUDs) and depression, effects that will be more pronounced for
    1. ) mothers with low psychological resources, and
    2. ) those living in the most disadvantaged neighborhoods at registration;
  3. ) the program will improve the health and development of firstborn children who will exhibit:
    1. ) superior cognitive, language, and academic functioning, and executive cognitive functioning (ECF);
    2. ) less depression and anxiety;
    3. ) fewer failed conduct grades and school disciplinary actions,
    4. ) less violent behavior and gang membership, and fewer arrests, juvenile detentions, and convictions - especially for crimes involving interpersonal violence;
  4. ) the program will reduce children’s risk for HIV infection, including
    1. ) use of substances and SUDs;
    2. ) risky sexual behaviors;
    3. ) sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and
    4. ) pregnancies;
  5. ) program effects on children will be more pronounced for
    1. ) males,
    2. ) those born to low-resource mothers, and
    3. ) those living in the most disadvantaged neighborhoods at registration;
  6. ) Program effects on mothers and children, in preliminary analyses, will be more pronounced for those with genetic vulnerabilities; and
  7. ) program effects on adolescent functioning will be explained by the program’s improvement in prenatal health, early care of the child, maternal life-course, and earlier child academic and behavioral functioning.
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