Purpose of the Study The authors examined the more subjective and currently understudied outcomes of a home visitation program geared toward education of new parents, representing a unique aspect of the research in this field to date. Outcomes measured included rates of self-reported learning of parenting skills, changes in parenting behavior, parents believing their child has improved development as a result of program participation, and parents actively engaging in improving health-related outcomes for their child.
Methods Used This is a descriptive study of participants of the Colorado Bright Beginnings (CBB) program who had at least one encounter from 11/01/2002 to 12/31/2002 who responded to a program evaluation survey sent May 2003. Out of 1,926 encounters, 430 parents responded to the program evaluation survey. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to calculate odds ratios for the factors associated with positive parenting outcomes such as parental race/ethnicity, language, education, marital status, and rural-urban compendium code as well as some of the characteristics of the visit itself. Odds ratios were also calculated for program evaluation survey participants vs nonparticipants to test for nonparticipation bias of the sample.
Summary of Results Self-reported use of program materials and community resources had significantly reduced odds ratios for a dissatisfying encounter among participants who were Hispanic and Spanish speaking, had less than a high school diploma, and were living in a single-parent household and metro area. Similar trends of decreased odds ratios for dissatisfaction were also found among participants having these characteristics in the areas of self-reported learning, positive changes in interactions, and perceived improvement in development. No significant improvement in immunization status or insurance status was found when comparing the status at the time of the original encounter with the status at the time of follow-up evaluation.
Conclusions Promoting good parenting habits is an important strategy in preventive medicine and risk reduction for young children. The greatest satisfaction and prevalence of positive parenting outcomes occurred in populations normally considered to be at risk from a public health standpoint, although improvements in encouraging full immunization and securing health care for their child(ren) are areas in which this program could improve among all participants and make an even greater impact in the communities it serves.
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