Mothers’ Advocates in the Community (MOSAIC)

Model effectiveness research report last updated: 2013

Model overview

Theoretical approach

MOSAIC draws on research evidence about three social support strategies designed to reduce intimate partner violence (IPV) and enhance women’s mental and physical health: (1) randomized trials of home visiting by nurses, paraprofessionals, and nonprofessional peers for new mothers living in disadvantaged communities; (2) a randomized trial of domestic violence advocacy by trained paraprofessionals for women leaving shelters or refuge; and (3) a randomized trial of a mentor mother model in which nonprofessional, trained mothers support pregnant women through domestic violence advocacy activities via home visits and phone calls.

MOSAIC hypothesized that reducing isolation, providing links to community resources, and providing sustained help from mentor mothers would reduce IPV and depression and encourage women to take actions to increase their safety. Reduction of abuse would further reduce depression and enhance women’s general health and mother-child bonding.

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Model services

Program participants received home visits and other regular contacts from trained and supported mentor mothers. Mentor mothers were supposed to (1) offer listening, friendship, and support without judgment; (2) use regular phone calls, home visits, and other outings to maintain contact and support; (3) help develop appropriate safety and self-care strategies; (4) foster trust and model hope; (5) offer parenting support and information; and (6) provide information regarding community resources and services (in particular, family violence services) and offer referral assistance. Mentor coordinators matched mothers to mentors based on the preferences mothers expressed during a telephone call with the coordinator (such as preferring a mentor who resides in the community), but both mentors and mothers had to agree to the match.

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Intended population

MOSAIC targeted women who were pregnant or had a child age 5 or younger, either reported IPV or exhibited symptoms of abuse, and spoke English or Vietnamese. Women were ineligible if they suffered from a serious mental illness for which they did not take medication.

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Where to find out more

Angela J. Taft
Professor/Director, Judith Lumley Centre for mother, infant and family health research
La Trobe University
Melbourne, Vic 3000, Australia

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