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Humber team interviews Mothers in Mind participants and staff to study the effect of the program on those involved

by Alanna Fairey

 

Faculty member Josephine Mazzuca of the School of Liberal Arts & Sciences and her team of students conducted a research project in collaboration with Mothers in Mind (MIM), a parenting program developed by the Child Development Institute (CDI) in Toronto. The study looked at the experiences of both the women who had attended the MIM program and the facilitators of the program. Participants attended the group either at CDI or another Ontario agency.

 

Mothers in Mind is a program for women who have experienced trauma from abusive relationships or other life experiences and also have a child under the age of four. Along with Dr. Mazzuca the students conducted a series of qualitative interviews with women who have recently participated in the program in order to understand what impact participation in the program has had on their parenting, relationships with their children, self-esteem, and social isolation. The facilitators were asked about their opinions on the training they received through CDI and their experiences leading the groups.

 

Student researcher Blythe Fletcher acknowledged that being able to work closely alongside Mazzuca gave her a valuable real world experience.

 

“The opportunity to work on a research project from start to finish, with very accomplished people in the field, is an amazing opportunity,” Fletcher said. “Everyone I’ve interacted with has wanted to do nothing other than help and ensure the project is as great as it can be.”

 

While both Dr. Mazzuca and her students acknowledged that finding willing participants for the study was their greatest challenge, the data the team found from their interviewees was very insightful, providing a useful validation of the MIM program to the CDI.

 

They discovered that the mothers who attended the Mothers in Mind group saw an increase in their self-esteem and a decrease in their social isolation. “They felt that their parenting had improved and their confidence, in terms of parenting, had also improved” said Mazzuca.

 

Research team

Partner: Child Development Institute

Project lead: Josephine Mazzuca

Students: Ayelet Ary, Blythe Fletcher, Natalia Palacio, Fabliha Prima, Chantal Ragoonanan