Boston Medical Center, MA

Boston Medical Center Corporation’s objectives are: 1) to determine the effectiveness of our model in improving parent-child interaction and maternal coping related to stress, depression, and efficacy, as well as in increasing social and concrete supports; 2) to improve child psychosocial functioning and development, and 3) to train new mental health professionals in dyadic mental health services and disseminate our model and findings through health professional schools and publications.

The target population for Boston Medical Center Corporation’s project is dyads comprised of mothers and their children aged 0 to 5 in which one or both has been exposed to domestic violence (DV), defined as any abusive, violent, coercive, forceful, or threatening act or word inflicted by one member of a family or household on another occurring in the home. The core intervention will consist of a combination of individual, group, and dyadic therapy and parenting education to improve parent-child interactions, parenting confidence, and parenting competence; to reduce parenting stress; and to improve child socio-emotional and developmental outcomes.

Drawing heavily on two evidence-informed practices—the Group Attachment-Based Intervention (GABI) and Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP)—BELONG will address the impact of DV on mother and child as it affects parenting, child development, and child behavior. It will also provide direct social support, as well as social case management designed to increase access to concrete supports (e.g., food, housing assistance). The intervention will be delivered in eight sessions over the course of 12 weeks. It will be adapted for two age ranges: 0-2 years and 3-5 years.

Boston Medical Center Corporation will create new clinical and operational protocols for Project BELONG, as well as a curriculum and low-literacy parent education materials in English and Spanish. It will recruit 90 high-risk mother/child dyads consenting to participate in the intervention. It will employ electronic data capture and create a secure, web-based REDCap database to house all study-related data. The intervention will be delivered by licensed mental health clinicians and candidates for doctoral and master’s degrees in psychology and social work within a unique nonstigmatized community setting. Boston Medical Center Corporation will compare pre/post scores on standardized measures of parent/child interaction, parenting confidence and competence, parenting stress, depression, and child socioemotional functioning and development.

For more information, contact Martha Vibbert: mvibbert@bu.edu