Bugental et al., 2002: Attributing parental challenges to external causes decreased child abuse and mother's depression, and increased children health, especially among at-risk first-year mothers
Over an average of 17 home visits during the baby’s first year, paraprofessionals asked mothers demographically at risk of committing child abuse to identify challenges in parenting (e.g., “My baby won’t stop crying”) and kept asking why they were having this challenge (“Could it be something else?”) until the mother gave a reason that did not blame themselves or their baby (e.g., not “I’m a bad mom” or “My baby is a bad baby” but “Maybe the baby needs a new bottle”). They then problem-solved with the mother to address this problem. As compared to both visits without this component, which provided mothers information about healthy development and relevant services, and a no-visit condition, this reduced the rate of child abuse during the first year from 23% to 4%, with the greatest effect among high-risk infants (58% vs. 10%). It also improved children’s health and reduced mothers’ depression at the child’s first birthday.