Title. Development of an internet-based intervention for parents of infants.
Aim. This paper reports on a study to describe the development of an internet-based intervention for parents with infants and to compare the participants and hospitals at baseline.
Background. There is a need for interventions to support parenting and for more research into the use of information technology as an intervention strategy. The design and development of healthcare interventions is a complex task, but these are rarely discussed in research reports.
Methods. A quasi-experimental study was conducted. The data (N = 1300 families) were collected using a structured questionnaire at the hospital or no later than 1 week after discharge during the winter of 2006. The results were used to develop the intervention and to compare the participants at baseline. Statistically significant differences were determined by chi-squared or Fisher’s exact tests for percentages and one-way anova for means. The internal consistency relialibility of the scales was analysed using Cronbach’s alpha coefficients.
Findings. Participants in the intervention (n = 469 mothers, n = 307 fathers) and control (n = 394 mothers, n = 218 fathers) hospitals were comparable in respect of parent and infant attributes. There were statistically significant differences between the hospitals in fathers’ overnight stays and their access to social support from professionals on the maternity ward. Exclusive breastfeeding was more common in the intervention hospital. More support for infants’ cues and behaviour, and day-rhythm and sleep were needed in the intervention hospital.
Conclusion. More research is needed to gain a clearer understanding of the effect size of the differences for a reliable evaluation of the effectiveness of the proposed intervention.