Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


The Family Volunteer Project was designed to address two general issues with regard to the area of maladaptive parenting. These were: (1) to contribute to the development of more effective screening procedures for identifying families at high risk for maladaptive parenting; and (2) to assess the feasibility and effectiveness of family volunteers as a promising preventive intervention strategy with respect to parenting problems.;This dissertation focuses upon the second of these objectives. The analyses reported concern the feasibility and effectiveness of volunteer intervention to effect positive change either directly or indirectly upon the psychological well-being, perceived social support and parenting attitudes and perceptions of mothers of newborns.;The design of the study was prospective incorporating features of a randomized trial, subjects (312 women who had recently given birth and who agreed to accept the intervention if so allocated) were randomly assigned to the intervention within four categories of potential risk for maladaptive parenting. The data considered in this dissertation was gathered at eight points in time (two to four weeks after the birth and six months after this baseline).;Female volunteers, recruited by mass media advertising, provided a low-intensity, non-directive social/emotional supportive intervention of six months duration to participants.;It was established that the recruitment and placement of volunteers within such a project is indeed feasible. A total of 143 volunteers were recruited and became involved in 156 placements. The mean level of contact accomplished by the volunteers was a total of 18 contacts (including 6.7 face-to-face contacts) over the six-month period. Given a highly motivated group of volunteers who functioned within a uniformly extensive supportive supervisory system, it was concluded that this level of contact is all that was feasible within the parameters of this project.;The one-way anlyses of variance and regression techniques used to examine the utility of the intervention yielded uniformly negative results. There is no compelling evidence that the particular intervention program mounted had any potency for effecting a positive impact, either directly or indirectly upon the psychological well-being, perceived social support or parenting attitudes and perceptions of participants. . . . (Author's abstract exceeds stipulated maximum length. Discontinued here with permission of author.) UMI



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