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Nurse home visits reduced child abuse and neglect over a 15 year period

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Question Do prenatal and postnatal home visits by nurses have long term effects on maternal life course and child abuse and neglect?


Randomised controlled trial with 15 years follow up.


Public antenatal clinic and private obstetrics offices in a semirural area of central New York State, USA.


400 women (11% African-American) who were <25 weeks gestation, had no previous live births, and had ≥1 sociodemographic risk factor (<19 y, unmarried, or low socioeconomic status). Most were unmarried (62%), ≥19 years (52%), and had low socioeconomic status (59%). Follow up was 81%.


Stratified by maternal race, marital status, and geographic region, women were allocated to 1 of 4 treatment groups: (1) sensory and developmental screening for children at 12 and 24 months (n=94); (2) treatment 1 plus free transportation to prenatal and child health care until the child's second birthday (n=90); (3) treatment 2 plus prenatal nurse home visits (mean 9 visits) (n=100); and (4) treatment 3 plus home visits (mean 23 visits) for 2 years after delivery …

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  • Sources of funding: National Institute of Mental Health and US Department of Health and Human Services.

  • For article reprint: Dr D L Olds, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, 1825 Main Street, Denver, CO 80218, USA. Fax +1 303 864 5236.

  • A modified version of this abstract appears in Evidence-Based Mental Health 1998 May and Evidence-Based Medicine 1998 May-Jun.