The objective of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of Mellow Babies (MB) in the UK. MB is a 14-week early parenting intervention program that is delivered in groups and is targeted at 'at-risk' parents (both mothers and fathers) and their babies up to 18 months old.
The study used a pragmatic pre-post intervention design. Outcomes were parental mental health, parenting confidence, quality of life, socio-emotional development of children, and perceived parent-child relationship. Fifteen groups representing n = 91 parent-baby dyads were recruited across the UK between 2017-2018. The sample consisted of 10 Mellow Mums groups (70 mother-baby dyads) and 5 Mellow Dads groups (21 father-baby dyads). Intention-to-treat and 'completer' analyses were performed.
Findings suggest short-term positive outcomes for parents attending MB. Completion of the program was associated with significant improvements in anxiety and overall wellbeing, parenting confidence, and perceived closeness of the parent-child relationship. The significance of these improvements, except for parenting confidence, was maintained in the intention-to-treat analysis. MB engaged and retained a high proportion of parents who could be considered 'at-risk' and benefitted fathers and mothers attending the intervention equally.
This is the first prospective study to explore MB participation for both mothers and fathers and to indicate engagement and potential benefits specifically for 'at-risk' parents. Findings further demonstrate the effectiveness of MB as an early intervention program for parents experiencing psychosocial difficulties. Replication by studies using a contrast or control group also incorporating follow-up data would further improve the evidence base for MB.
|Number of pages||19|
|Publication status||Published - 3 Feb 2021|