Preventing abuse to pregnant women: Implementation of a 'Mentor mother' advocacy model

Judith McFarlane, William Wiist

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Abuse to pregnant women is common and can result in complications to maternal and child health. Although screening and detection of abuse in primary health care settings is becoming more commonplace, intervention models that include community outreach have not been developed or tested. An advocacy model was developed and tested for pregnant abused women by melding research on advocacy programs for abused women exiting shelters with the principles of home visitation used to improve outcomes to pregnant women. Advocacy was offered by 'mentor mothers,' who were residents of the project's service area. The advocacy consisted of weekly social support, education, and assisted referrals to pregnant women identified as abused as part of routine screening offered at the first prenatal visit to a public health clinic. Effectiveness of the advocacy intervention was measured as contact success rate, number and type of advocacy contacts, and number and type of referrals made to the first 100 women to complete the advocacy program. The mentor mother advocates were successful in contacting the abused woman 33% of the time, regardless of whether a telephone call, home visitation, or in-person meeting was attempted. The average number of advocacy contacts was 9.2 (SD = 7.6) with the majority (74%) being via the telephone. The average number of referrals per woman was 8.6 (SD = 7.6) with the largest percentage (38%) being for medical services. Outreach advocacy as an intervention model for pregnant abused women is recommended.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-249
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Community Health Nursing
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Community and Home Care
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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