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Parent Involvement in Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Programs: an Integrative Review

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Despite the evidence and investment in evidence-based federally funded maternal, infant, and early childhood home visiting, substantial challenges persist with parent involvement: enrolling, engaging, and retaining participants. We present an integrative review and synthesis of recent evidence regarding the influence of multi-level factors on parent involvement in evidence-based home visiting programs. We conducted a search for original research studies published from January 2007 to March 2018 using PubMed, Embase, Cochrane, and CINAHL databases. Twenty-two studies met criteria for inclusion. Parent and family characteristics were the most commonly studied influencing factor; however, consistent evidence for its role in involvement was scarce. Attributes of the home visitor and quality of the relationship between home visitor and participant were found to promote parent involvement. Staff turnover was found to be a barrier to parent involvement. A limited number of influencing factors have been adequately investigated, and those that have reveal inconsistent findings regarding factors that promote parent involvement in home visiting. Future research should move beyond the study of parent- and family-level characteristics and focus on program- and home visitor–level characteristics which, although still limited, have demonstrated some consistent association with parent involvement. Neighborhood characteristics have not been well studied and warrant future research.

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We thank Johns Hopkins University Informationists, Stella Seal, and Rachel Lebo for their systematic search of the literature for this manuscript. We thank Jennifer Kim, MSN, RN, for her assistance reviewing articles for this publication.


Funding for this project was provided by Grant Number KL2TR001077 from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and NIH Roadmap for Medical Research.

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Correspondence to Kelly M Bower.

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The contents of this publication are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official view of the Johns Hopkins ICTR, NCATS, or NIH.

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This study is a systematic review of the literature and did not involve human subjects.

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Bower, K.M., Nimer, M., West, A.L. et al. Parent Involvement in Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Programs: an Integrative Review. Prev Sci 21, 728–747 (2020).

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