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Flying Under the Radar: Engagement and Retention of Depressed Low-income Mothers in a Mental Health Intervention

Beeber, Linda S. PhD, APRN, BC; Cooper, Carolyn PhD, RN; Van Noy, Barbara E. PhD, APRN, BC; Schwartz, Todd A. DrPH; Blanchard, Hjordis C. MLS; Canuso, Regina MSN, APRN, BC; Robb, Katherine MSN, RN; Laudenbacher, Cheryl MSN, RN; Emory, Sara L. MSN, APRN, BC

doi: 10.1097/01.ANS.0000286621.77139.f0

A randomized trial of in-home psychotherapy for depressive symptoms that targeted low-income mothers of infants and toddlers used innovative design features to reduce stigma and enhance acceptability. Despite these features, advanced practice psychiatric mental health nurses used specialized, relationship-based strategies to engage and retain these high-risk mothers in the intervention. Data revealed that the nurses needed to diligently maintain contact, provide encouragement, use empathy for rapid assessment and response, and control the intensity of the relationship-based contacts in order to retain mothers.

School of Nursing, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Corresponding Author: Linda S. Beeber, PhD, APRN, BC, School of Nursing, University of North Carolina, 1000 Medical Dr, CB #7460, Chapel Hill, NC 27599 (

The data for this article were drawn from 2 projects: “Reducing Depressive Symptoms in Low-Income Mothers” (RO1 MH 65524-01), National Institute of Mental Health, and “EHS Latina Mothers: Reducing Depressive Symptoms and Promoting Infant-Toddler Mental Health” (90YF004201), Early Head Start-University Partnership Grant, Administration for Child and Family/Administration for Child Youth and Family, Department of Health and Human Services.

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.