Positive Parenting App Study

Project Description

This study of the postive parenting app tests the feasibility and effectiveness of a mobile-based app intervention designed to enhance home visiting by providing in-the-moment parenting tips with the goal of increasing healthy parent-child interactions leading to resiliency in high-risk children.

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) profoundly influence brain and behavioral development and long-term risk for mental and physical illness. Parenting is a robust predictor of resilience in the face of adversity. As such, nationwide, numerous efforts have been initiated to reduce rates of ACEs by promoting positive parenting practices (e.g., reading, eating meals together) in high-risk families. One such effort is home visiting, which provides one-on-one coaching to help parents learn safety, health, and parenting skills to promote child development and improve family functioning. While there are positive impacts to home visiting programs, none have been shown to move the needle on significant improvement in the psychosocial adjustment of adversity-exposed children. The positive parenting app will compliment and extend home visiting by delivering twice-daily tailored messages with tips on positive parenting and promoting child development. Ecological momentary assessments (EMA) of parenting behaviors, parent and child emotional functioning, and parent-child interactions will also be collected via the app.

Project Goals

Overall, this study aims to:

  • Promote of resiliency and child development in children growing up in high-risk environments,
  • Help prevent child maltreatment and early adversity exposure, and
  • Reduce lifetime disease and health consequences linked to adversity.

By doing the following:

  1. Test a low-cost, far-reaching intervention delivered via cutting-edge mHealth app technology,
  2. Examine the effectiveness of a mHealth app intervention at improving positive parenting practices measured in-the-moment in a sample of parents at increased risk for adverse childhood experiences exposure and child welfare involvement, and
  3. Examine within and between person differences via ecological momentary assessments, thereby strengthening causal implications.