Families First: a Mentalization-Based Group Intervention for First-Time Parents to Promote Family Health
M. Kalland1,2, A. Fagerlund2, M. Pajulo3, M. Laakso2,3, Martina Salvén4
1The Mannerheim League for Child Welfare, Helsinki, Finland
2Folkhälsan Research Center, Helsinki, Finland
3University of Eastern Finland, Finland
4University of Helsinki, Finland
Background: The more sensitive parents are to their children’s developmental and emotional needs, or the better the parents are to mentalize, the more successful the child’s socioemotional and cognitive development. The aim of the present project is to enhance parental mentalization capacity through a new group intervention for first-time parents. Generally, the aim is to support well-functioning models of parenting, prevent transmission of negative parenting models over generations and thus promote child development and overall family health. Methods: The intervention is a renewed format of a 12-session group intervention originally developed at Yale University. Parents are trained to reflect on their child’s experiences, feelings and needs in relation to child behavior. A web-based research evaluation (200 intervention families, 1000 control families) is performed evaluating mentalization capacity, parental stress, marital satisfaction and overall child development. Evaluations are performed for baseline data, at pre-intervention (3-4 months), post-intervention (1-year) and a follow-up (2-years). The intervention, research design and preliminary data will be presented.