Does Prenatal and Infancy Nurse Home Visitation Have Enduring Effects on Qualities of Parental Caregiving and Child Health at 25 to 50 Months of Life?

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Abstract

Design

Prospective follow-up of families who had been randomly assigned to nurse-visited and comparison conditions.

Setting

Study conducted in semirural community in upstate New York. Families dispersed among 14 other states during 2-year period after children's second birthdays.

Participants

Four hundred women were recruited through a health department antepartum clinic and offices of private obstetricians and were registered before 30th week of pregnancy. All women had no previous live births and 85% were either teenaged (<18 years at registration), unmarried, or from Hollingshead social classes IV or V. Analysis focused on whites, who comprised 89% of sample.

Intervention

Nurse home visitation from pregnancy through second year of the child's life.

Conclusions

The program does have enduring effects on certain aspects of parental caregiving, safety of the home, and children's use of the health care system, but it may be necessary to extend the length of the program for families at highest risk to produce lasting reductions in child abuse and neglect. Pediatrics 1994;93:89-98; child abuse, neglect, nurse home visitation, child, health, development.

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