Perinatal Mental Health Support and Early Childhood Home Visitation During COVID-19




Dorian E. Traube, Abigail Palmer Molina, Sheila YingWangKay, and Allison Kemner

Brief Type

Journal Publication


  • Parents as Teachers (PAT)


COVID-19 has disrupted many of the preventive service sectors designed to serve mothers at-risk for developing postpartum depression, forcing a rapid transition to telehealth-based modes of delivery. The purpose of this study was to explore differences in early childhood home visitation service provision (enrollment and depression screening) among mothers receiving home visitation services prior to and after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Additional factors related to receipt of virtual home visitation services, family risk factors, and the maternal depressive symptoms were examined. Linear and logistic regression were utilized to examine whether there were differences in family risk factors, the percentage of mothers being screened for depression and maternal depressive symptoms, and associations between risk factors and positive depression screenings, while accounting for clustering by site. Samples compared outcomes for families enrolled during the pre-pandemic period (defined as March 16th to July 27th, 2019, n = 4,743) and the post-pandemic period (defined as March 16th to July 27th, 2020, n = 2,049). Families enrolled after the onset of the pandemic were significantly less likely to be impacted by housing instability, have a child with a disability, or be involved with the military, but more likely to have a history of child abuse or neglect. Fewer mothers were screened for depression during the pandemic and maternal report of depressive symptoms decreased. Virtual home visitation is currently attracting some groups of mothers who are experiencing fewer stressors, which may place them at decreased risk for exhibiting depressive symptoms. There may be aspects of the virtual depression screening experience that make detection more difficult. As a result, many mothers at risk for maternal depression may not receive adequate prevention services. (author abstract)

Data Collection Methods

  • Program administrative record reviews
  • Standardized assessment tools



For More Information

Traube, D. E., Molina, A. P., YingWangKay, S., & Kemner, A. (2022). Perinatal mental health support and early childhood home visitation during COVID-19. Prevention Science, 23(2), 260–270. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11121-021-01313-9
Author Contact Information:
Dorian E. Traube


  • Participant Characteristics