Not only is the BBH class based in decades of phenomenal research, the class itself has been researched to see if it really has the impact on families that its developers were hoping for. Starting in 1999, and continuing until 2005, Dr. John Gottman and his colleague Dr. Alyson Shapiro conducted a study that ended up looking at 159 couples with 165 children. T
he study was a what they call a randomized clinical trial design, which is sort of the gold standard in scientific research. Couples were assigned to three groups; either they took the BBH class plus a 12 week support group, they took the BBH class only, or they didn’t take the class at all. The couples then took part in several interviews over a three year period to see how they and their kids were doing in comparison to the “control” group who had not taken the class.
The researchers looked at many variables: the quality of the couples relationship; father and mother involvement with the baby; rates postpartum depression or other adjustment difficulties; co-parenting abilities; parenting abilities; and infant mood, temperament, self-regulation, and developmental milestones.
The results were pretty great, considering the class is only 12 hours long. Symptoms of post-partum depression in the control group were 66.5%; in the group who took BBH only 22.5% had symptoms of depression. Fewer fathers had depression as well (yes, it happens to dads too). The couples who had taken the class reported a high, stable relationship quality at one year postpartum, whereas those who had not taken the class showed a decline in relationship quality. The BBH couples co-parented better and their babies even expressed more smiling and laughter in family play. The babies had less language delays at one year old, and the mothers rated their babies as showing less distress in response to limitations (such as having a toy out of reach). Those are only some of the results, because it was such a big and thorough study. You can learn more here, if you are interested.
How can one class have such an impact? Find out for yourself! We start tomorrow evening at Mission Midwifery.