Advancing Insight into Maternal Social Support (AIMSS) is a multi-year study that will explore how social support interventions during pregnancy affect occurrence of postpartum mood disorders (PPMD).

Meredith College Assistant Professor of Psychology Betty-Shannon Prevatt and Assistant Professor of Child Development Pamela Norcross will partner with obstetrics and gynecology practices that offer CenteringPregnancy, a group-based prenatal care model with demonstrated positive maternal and infant health outcomes when compared to traditional prenatal care. Through this partnership, the project will examine the mental health benefits of the CenteringPregnancy model.

Project Aims

  • Collaborate with undergraduate students to use a pre-existing dataset to determine under what conditions the CenteringPregnancy model versus CAU affects maternal depression outcomes.
  • Work with undergraduate students to gather new data to examine impacts of the CenteringPregnancy model as a clinical intervention on relevant maternal outcomes (e.g., PPMD; interaction effects of PPMD and early parenting), while simultaneously observing and gathering information on implementation in order to maximize clinical efficacy utility, and facilitate sustainability and scalability as an effective intervention and prevention strategy for PPMD. 
  • Strengthen Meredith’s research environment and engage undergraduate students in collaborative research while mentoring and instructing them in research concepts and processes (e.g., research methodology, participant recruitment, ethical and professional standards, data collection and analysis, and scholarly productivity) as they relate to the CenteringPregnancy model, maternal mental health, and relevant outcomes.

Expected Results

The results of this research will contribute to the existing knowledge base by advancing understanding of social support interventions relevant to maternal mental health and revealing targeted points of entry for prevention and intervention programs to alter maternal mood disorder risk during pregnancy and throughout the postpartum period. Further, the project’s focus on clinical effectiveness and implementation outcomes will support sustainability and scalability of interventions involving group-based social support. 

Read more about this exciting study

This project has been approved by the Meredith College IRB and is funded by the National Institutes of Mental Health (R15MH126403).