ATTACH™ & VID-KIDS: Rapid User-Informed Web and Mobile Interface Development, Adaptation and Pilot Testing to Support Children’s Mental Health and Development.
Toxic stress undermines parent-child relationship quality and puts children at risk for mental, emotional and behavioural (MEB) health and development problems. The COVID‑19 pandemic has placed additional stressors on vulnerable families and dramatically impacted the delivery of support services and related research. Our aim is to build on the success of two CIHR funded in-person (home or clinic) intervention programs designed to improve parent-child relationship quality and child MEB health and development by rapidly pivoting to user-engaged design and pilot testing of two unique virtual delivery programs. ATTACH™ (Attachment and Child Health) is designed to help parents affected by toxic stress (parental depression, addictions, family violence, low-income) improve their reflective function (RF) or capacity to understand their own and their child’s mental states, which can strengthen parent-child relationships and buffer the impacts of toxic stress on children. VID-KIDS (Video Feedback Interaction Guidance Program for Depressed Mothers and their Infants) is designed to help mothers with postpartum depression to be sensitive and responsive to their infants, an ability undermined by the symptoms of depression, in order to promote healthy child development. Using integrated knowledge transfer and co-design approaches, we will further develop and pilot test both virtual delivery programs for real world implementation, by evaluating the impact of the beta prototypes on children’s MEB health and development. For VID-KIDS, impacts on maternal depression will also be assessed and for ATTACH™, RF will also be measured. This project will set the stage for two future tri-council randomized controlled trial (RCT) grants, expanding our research into user-engaged technology-enabled delivery of urgently needed community mental health interventions, and allowing us to rapidly scale up these parent training programs to reach a greater number of vulnerable Canadian families.