Prevention Science

, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 269–274

Reducing the Impact of Uncontrollable Stressful Life Events Through a Program of Nurse Home Visitation for New Parents


  • Charles V. Izzo
    • Family Life Development CenterCornell University
    • Family Life Development CenterCornell University
  • John Eckenrode
    • Family Life Development CenterCornell University
  • Elliot G. Smith
    • Family Life Development CenterCornell University
  • Charles R. HendersonJr.
    • Department of Human DevelopmentCornell University
  • Robert Cole
    • School of NursingUniversity of Rochester
  • Harriet Kitzman
    • School of NursingUniversity of Rochester
  • David L. Olds
    • Prevention Research Center for Family and Child HealthUniversity of Colorado Health Science Center
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11121-005-0010-5

Cite this article as:
Izzo, C.V., Eckenrode, J., Smith, E.G. et al. Prev Sci (2005) 6: 269. doi:10.1007/s11121-005-0010-5

The current study examined whether the Nurse Family Partnership (NFP), an intervention in which mothers received home visitation by registered nurses pre- and postnatally, reduced mothers' vulnerability to the effects of stressful life events several years after the program was completed. Data from a randomized trial of the NFP were examined for mothers (N = 324) who were generally low-income, young, and unmarried at the time of the birth of their first child. Structured interviews were done with mothers about 15 years after the program began. Results showed that experiencing uncontrollable stressful life events, such as the death of a loved one, led to fewer negative outcomes (fewer mental health problems, less binge drinking, and better parenting practices) among nurse-visited mothers than among mothers receiving no visitation. Furthermore, the program's effect on reducing vulnerability to the negative impact of life events was particularly evident among parents who were younger or had a lower sense of personal control at intake. These findings suggest that, in addition to preventing the occurrence of negative outcomes that were direct targets of the intervention, the NFP more generally enhanced mothers' ability to cope with future stressful life events.


nurse-visiting life events mental health parenting

Copyright information

© Society of Prevention Research 2005