STEEPTM was one of the first attachment-based early intervention programs. The program applied findings from the Minnesota Longitudinal Study on Risk and Adaptation to the development of a supportive program for young high-risk mothers and their infants. STEEP’s effectiveness was evaluated first in a randomized controlled study launched in 1987. The study showed effects of the one-year intervention on important individual and parenting variables, but not on quality of mother–infant attachment. In the current German study with young mothers at risk for abuse and neglect, a two-year adaptation of STEEP was evaluated within a quasi-experimental design. STEEP mother–infant pairs (N = 78) were compared with pairs who received standard services of the German Child Welfare System (GCWS, N = 29). Compared with GCWS pairs, significantly more mother–infant pairs in the intervention group showed secure attachment patterns in Ainsworth´s Strange Situation when the infants were 12 months of age. At the end of the intervention (infant age = 24 month), attachment security scores derived from Waters’ Attachment Q-Sort were in the predicted direction and showed a medium effect size, but did not reach criteria of statistical significance. At both time points, the STEEP group showed significantly fewer signs of attachment disorganization than the comparison group.
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© 2016 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
- Attachment based early intervention
- STEEP program
- translational research
- young high-risk mothers