Date of Award

Summer 1991

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)




Virginia Consortium Program in Clinical Psychology

Committee Director

Joseph Galano

Committee Director

Janis Sanchez-Hucles

Committee Member

David Pancoast

Committee Member

Alan Rountree

Committee Member

Ann Lodge

Committee Member

Marky McDowell


The central purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the Welcome Baby Project (WBP), a primary prevention program with the mission of promoting child development and a positive relationship between "at-risk" adolescent mothers and their infants and to prevent disorders of attachment, child abuse and neglect, and unwanted, repeat pregnancy. Intervention involved weekly home visits by trained parent volunteers for children from birth to two years.

The WBP mothers and a control group of adolescent mothers were compared on assessments collected during a home visit. Participants were asked to complete the Adult-Adolescent Parenting Inventory (AAPI), and the High Scope Knowledge Scale (HSKS). Videotaped observations of mother-infant interactions in a teaching session were rated using the National Child Assessment Teaching Scale (NCATS). The quality of the home environment was assessed using the Home Observation for Measurement of the Environment (HOME). The Battelle Developmental Inventory - Screening Test (BDI) was used to assess infant development. WBP mothers and Home Visitors were asked to evaluate the program.

The groups differed on important variables associated with high risk status; the greater risk status of WBP mothers increases the likelihood of underestimating the program's impact. Low statistical power (n = 30) made detecting program effectiveness difficult. WBP mothers were significantly more accurate in their knowledge of developmental milestones and had fewer late expectations than control mothers on the HSKS. The NCATS, HOME, AAPI, and HSKS approached significance when the variability due to birth weight, prematurity, and household income were controlled. Comparison of the means reflected a strong trend favoring the WBP mothers.

Comparisons with normative and other study samples on the NCATS, HOME and AAPI lends support for program effectiveness. Evaluations of the program by WBP mothers and Home Visitors were positive. The results are encouraging but point to the need for continued evaluation over the next several years.


A Dissertation Submitted to the Faculties of The College of William and Mary, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk State University, Old Dominion University in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology through the Virginia Consortium Program in Clinical Psychology.


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