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Child Abuse Negl. 2000 Sep;24(9):1127-49.

Programs for the promotion of family wellness and the prevention of child maltreatment: a meta-analytic review.

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Department of Psychology, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.



The objectives were to determine the effectiveness of programs in promoting family wellness and preventing child maltreatment and to identify factors that moderate program success.


Meta-analysis, employing a 3-step model testing procedure, was used to review 56 programs designed to promote family wellness and prevent child maltreatment.


The effect sizes for proactive interventions were larger at follow-up than at post-assessment, while the effect sizes for reactive interventions were higher at post-assessment than follow-up. The lowest effect sizes for home visitation programs on child maltreatment were for programs with 12 or fewer visits and less than a 6-month duration. Intensive family preservation programs with high levels of participant involvement, an empowerment/strengths-based approach, and a component of social support had higher effect sizes than programs without those elements. Also, both home visitation and intensive family preservation interventions achieved higher effect sizes with participants of mixed socioeconomic status (SES) than participants with low SES.


The total mean weighted effect size was .41, indicating that outcomes for the intervention group exceed 66% of those in control/comparison groups. The findings from this review demonstrated that child maltreatment can be prevented and that family wellness can be promoted.

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