Mother and Home Visitor Emotional Well-Being and Alignment on Goals for Home Visiting as Factors for Program Engagement




Lori Burrell, Sarah Crowne, Kristen Ojo, Ryan Snead, Kay O'Neill, Fallon Cluxton-Keller, and Anne Duggan

Brief Type

Journal publication


  • Healthy Families America (HFA)
  • Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP)
  • Parents as Teachers (PAT)


Objectives: Family engagement in home visiting (HV), as indicated by length of enrollment, is a major challenge as most families do not stay enrolled for the intended duration prescribed by HV models. This study examined maternal and visitor emotional well-being as factors for maternal satisfaction with the program in addressing reasons for enrolling in HV and program engagement and the role of their working alliance with the visitor as a mediator of this. Methods: Longitudinal data were collected from 148 mothers and 54 visitors in 21 HV programs. Mothers completed surveys shortly after enrolling and 6 months later to assess attributes of the working alliance with their visitor. Visitors completed a survey to assess work-related well-being. HV program data were used to measure engagement. Results: Mothers enrolled for multiple, diverse reasons, most often to promote child development and parenting (96%). Mothers’ satisfaction with program efforts to address reasons for enrollment was highest for parenting (79%) and lowest for jobs and education (30%). Results of the mediational path model indicated that ratings of the visitor on goal alignment were positively associated with engagement. Maternal emotional availability and visitor work-related emotional exhaustion were negatively associated with engagement. Exploratory analyses suggested that ratings of the visitor on goal alignment were a stronger predictor of engagement for mothers with low emotional availability compared to other mothers. Conclusions for Practice: Visitor alignment with mothers on goals and responsiveness to reasons for enrolling appear to be effective in promoting engagement. Individualizing services to reflect maternal goals and emotional capacity may be important strategies to address engagement challenges. (author abstract)

Data Collection Methods

  • Standardized assessment tools
  • Surveys or questionnaires



For More Information

Burrell, L., Crowne, S., Ojo, K., Snead, R., O’Neill, K., Cluxton-Keller, F., & Duggan, A. (2018). Mother and home visitor emotional well-being and alignment on goals for home visiting as factors for program engagement. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 22(1), 43-51. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10995-018-2535-9
Author Contact Information:
Lori Burrell


  • Home Visiting Workforce Characteristics and Workforce Development
  • Participant Characteristics
  • Participant, Family, and Program Outcomes
  • Participant Recruitment, Retention, Engagement, and Dosage