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).


Co-Principle Investigators, Drs. Betty-Shannon Prevatt and Pamela Norcross, have been award the Pauline Davis Perry Award for Research, Publication, and/or Artistic Achievement this Fall 2022!

Our undergraduate research assistants, Rayna Maleki and Joselyn Marroquin Aparicio, have been accepted to present at the annual meeting for the American Public Health Association. Navigate to the Study Findings page to view their posters!

During the 2022 International Congress of Infant Studies, our previous undergraduate research assistant, Joselyn Marroquin Aparicio, was recognized as a runner-up to the Outstanding Undergraduate Submission Award for her poster on the role of maternal race and SES in the risk of prenatal depression and anxiety symptoms on birth outcomes. See her recognition on the ICIS 2022 website.

Congratulations to Joselyn Marroquin Aparicio for graduating Meredith College and the AIMSS lab this May, 2022! Joselyn will work in a clinical research lab after graduation and plans to apply to medical school in the following application cycle.

Our undergraduate research assistant, Joselyn Marroquin Aparicio, was selected to share her Strong Story and her motivations for prioritizing maternal mental health.

Co-Principal Investigators, Drs. Pamela Norcross and Betty-Shannon Prevatt, and undergraduate research assistant, Joselyn Marroquin Aparicio, have been accepted to present at the International Congress of Infant Studies in 2022. Navigate to the Study Findings page to view their posters!

Congratulations to Alia Hassan for graduating Meredith College this December, 2021! Alia is also the first undergraduate research assistant to graduate from the AIMSS lab.