New Family Wellness Project (NFWP)

Why is this project important?

While bring a child home can bring great joy and fulfillment to a family, it can also introduce significant distress. The United States has some of the worst postpartum outcomes in the world with 19% of postpartum women report notable depressive symptoms. Despite these risks, current obstetrical standard practice recommends a single postpartum visit with birth mothers alone. The entire family unit does not receive consistent monitoring although ample research on the perinatal and postpartum period notes the prevalence of postpartum anxiety, depression, loneliness, and relational distress for both new parents. What we do know is that positive relational factors (e.g., healthy communication, attunement, instrumental support) can buffer families from negative psychosocial outcomes. Holistic family-based interventions have the potential to boost resilience and negate negative outcomes.

What is the New Family Wellness Project?

The New Family Wellness Project (NFWP) project is a clinical research study focused on assessing the efficacy of an early, holistic intervention seeking to support new parents in the postpartum period. The NFWP utilizes a battery of validated measures including tools focused on: postpartum anxiety/depression, relational health, sleep hygiene, social support, identity, self-efficacy, self-esteem, trauma, and will also include an overall mental health symptom checklist. The multi-pronged project includes:

 

Initial Collaborative Goal-Setting Session and Assessment. All participants will take part in an initial, in-home intake session to gather background information, collect baseline measures, orient families to the project, and collaboratively set initial goals and identify specific areas of needs.

In-Home Individual and Couples Therapy. In order to meet the unique needs of new families, therapy sessions will occur in-home for individual mothers and couples after families bring their baby home. These in-home therapy sessions will focus on families’ specific goals, psychoeducation on social, physical, and emotional wellness postpartum, and overall biopsychosocial functioning.

 

New Family Support Group. Families who have been home with their babies for at least six weeks, will join group sessions with flexible, weekly foci related to holistic wellness topics for new parents (e.g., mood changes, reflecting on birth, navigating changes in identity, connecting with baby).

 

Digital Check-Ins. The project will include regular HIPPA-compliant,digital check-ins to respond to participants’ questions and concerns between sessions as needed.

 

Resource Guide. The project will also collate and share a dynamic, digital resource guide for new families in the local community to help connect new parents with supplemental support as needed.

 

Engagement Activities. Families will have the option to engage in “therapy homework” and family tasks between sessions.

 

Crisis Support and Referral Management. The project will include a structured protocol to identify physical and psychological health-related crises and connect families with more significant support as needed.

 

Transition Sessions. The project will include two transition sessions to plan for next steps after completing the New Family Wellness project and connect to on-going support, as needed.

 

What variables will be assessed in this project?

 

Postpartum family symptoms will be assessed using a battery of validated measures including tools focused on: postpartum anxiety/depression, relational health, sleep hygiene, social support, identity, self-efficacy, self-esteem, trauma, and will also include an overall mental health symptom checklist.

 

Who is the primary investigator?

 

I am Janelle S. Peifer, an assistant professor at Agnes Scott College and licensed clinical psychologist in the state of Georgia. My clinical areas of expertise include trauma/resilience, couples and families’ life transitions, and identity and culture-related psychological phenomena (e.g., navigating coming out, transgender issues, coping with racial trauma).

 

You can learn more about my research (www.janellepeifer.com) and clinical (www.peiferpsychology.com) work on my websites. You can also reach out to me by phone (540.846.0932) or e-mail (peifer.janelle@gmail.com) to talk more.

 

Who can join the study and how will they be recruited?

 

 Participants will be first time parents within the first six month postpartum. Participants must be between 20 and 40 years old and in a committed relationship with the parent of their child. If you're interested in joining, please complete this form.

What incentives do participants receive?

  • Free, in-home therapy (5 sessions)

  • Access to resources, referral network, group therapy, on-going consultation and support

  • $150 gift cards (Amazon or Walmart) ($30 gift card per session)

  • $50 thank you gift card

© 2019 by Dr. Janelle S. Peifer