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Perinatal Nurse Home Visiting Enhanced with mHealth Technology

Meet the Investigators


This study addresses PA-11-104 calling for Reducing Health Disparities among Minority and Underserved Children. The Institute of Medicine1,  World Health Organization2 and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention3 recognize that prenatal home visitation, which improves the well-being of mother and children, presents an opportunity to provide early intervention to reduce intimate partner violence (IPV) and the impact the exposure has on the children. 

Major challenges for  nurses and other home visitors (HV) are to accurately identify abused women and facilitate their accessing resources needed to change their situation.  HVs often find it difficult to assess and intervene for IPV in the intimacy of home settings. The use of mHealth technology may increase the sensitivity of screening instruments and reduce communication barriers between HVs and clients regarding IPV, as well as enhance implementation of IPV interventions and allow for a more standard delivery of an intervention.

Building on the successful trial testing the DOVE IPV intervention in prenatal home visiting programs (NR009093), we propose to test mHealth technology using an open-source application, eMOCHA, to improve assessment of IPV and to deliver the DOVE intervention.  The proposed eMOCHA DOVE study will first (Specific Aim/Phase 1) compare sensitivity and specificity of two different approaches for IPV assessment; paper and pencil versus the eMOCHA mHealth technology. Phase 2 (Aim 2) will compare effectiveness of the DOVE intervention delivered in standard form (paper brochure) versus mHealth eMOCHA DOVE application.

In Phase 1 women enrolled in a perinatal home visiting program and consenting to the study, will be randomized to one of the two assessment groups and assessed for IPV at enrollment, birth and 2 months post birth. Women who are IPV positive (IPV+) at any of the assessment times will be re-randomized to receive the DOVE intervention by one of the two approaches. 1600 Medicaid eligible pregnant women in a perinatal home visiting program (800 from urban Baltimore and 800 from rural Virginia) will be recruited for Phase I and 400 IPV+ women (200 from each site) for Phase II. Women participating in Phase 2 will receive 6 home visit interventions over 6 months. Maternal outcomes related to IPV and mental health and selected infant outcomes will be collected at enrollment, 3, 6, 12, and 18 months after entry into Phase 2. 

Specific Aim 1 will use logistic and linear regression models to examine the proportion of women experiencing IPV through mHealth technology versus paper and pencil on the same validated assessments. Specific Aim 2 (comparing effectiveness of two intervention administrations) will be assessed with logistic and linear regression models for categorical (proportion abused and premature infants) and continuous outcome variables (e.g. depression, frequency and severity of physical, psychological, sexual IPV, use of community resources) respectively. Study findings will assist nurse home visitation programs to use best approaches for routine assessment of IPV and implement empowerment interventions to reduce IPV and improve maternal infant health outcomes.

1Institute of Medicine, Global Violence Prevention Forum Meeting, August, 2010

2World Health Organization/London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Preventing intimate partner and sexual violence against women: Taking action and generating evidence. Geneva, World Health Organization, 2010.

3Niolon, P. H., Whitaker, D. J., Feder, L., Campbell, J. C., Wallinder, J., Self-Brown, S., Chivers, S. (2009). A multicomponent intervention to prevent partner violence within an existing service intervention.  Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 3, 264–271.