This study examined data from a 7-year follow-up study of a randomized controlled trial of Healthy Family New York (HFNY).
The prevention of maltreatment and harsh parenting are the primary goals of evidence-based home visiting programs, but rigorous studies demonstrating long-term outcomes are limited despite widespread implementation. The current study examined whether HFNY participation predicted lower rates of harsh and abusive parenting 7 years after enrollment. The data included both maternal self-report of parenting behaviors and the target child’s report of harsh parenting. The year 7 sample included 942 mother interviews (83.5 percent retention from baseline) and 800 child interviews. At the 7-year follow-up, maternal-reported behaviors measured by CTS-PC showed a significantly increased use of positive parenting strategies and lower levels of serious physical abuse in the HFNY group compared with the control group. Significant group differences were observed for the frequency with which mothers engaged in severe or very severe physical assault (control group = .16, compared with .03 in the intervention group, p < .001). In addition, fewer children reported that their parents used minor physical assault. There was no intervention impact on indicated child protective service records. The current study indicates that home-visiting participation reduced harsh and abusive parenting and promoted positive parenting behaviors that endure and may strengthen later development. (publisher abstract modified)
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