Geary Seminar – July 2012


The PFL Evaluation team held a half-day seminar on 11th July 2012 on studies in progress emanating from the evaluation. Below is a short description of each study, video of the presentation and accompanying slides.



Dr. Orla Doyle, Principal Investigator, Preparing for Life

Dr. Orla Doyle provides an overview of the PFL Programme including the design, data collection, data analysis and a summary of the 6 month results.

Click here to download Orla’s accompanying presentation


‘Successes & Challenges in the Early Stages of a Home Visiting Programme: Staff Perspectives

Judy McGrath, Project Co-ordinator, Geary institute; Phd Candidate, TCD

This study investigates the experiences of mentors and information officers who work on the Preparing for Life Programme. It provides a comparison between the two roles and investigates how the mentors and information officers experience their roles and the programme.  Seven in-depth semi-structured interviews structured were carried out by the PFL evaluation team over a 2 month period from December 2009 to January 2010 and were analysed thematically from a psychological perspective. A second round of interviews is now underway, and this will provide a comparison to the present study.

Click here to download Judy’s accompanying presentation slides


The Differential Effects of Infant Gender and Early Childhood Intervention

Edel McGlanaghy, Research Assistant

This presentation examines the effect of child gender on the Preparing for Life early childhood intervention. Gender/treatment interactions were carried out on measures of child development and parenting. The patterns of gender difference within and across treatment groups are discussed.

Click here to download Edel’s accompanying presentation slides


Parenting Mental Health and Early Intervention: The impact of parental distress on parenting and child development in an early childhood intervention

Maria Cosgrave, Research Assistant

This study investigates whether mothers who experience poor emotional wellbeing react to the Preparing for Life programme differently to mothers not experiencing poor wellbeing. At the 6 month data collection point the sample is divided into two groups; mothers experiencing poor emotional wellbeing (as indexed by their WHO5 score) and those experiencing higher wellbeing. These groups are compared to each other across treatment conditions to determine whether there are differential effects of varied levels of wellbeing.

Click here to download Maria’s accompanying presentation slides


‘Engagement in Preparing for Life: The importance of psychological and cognitive resources’

Ailbhe Booth, Research Assistant

This study is an investigation of the relationship between engagement in a home visiting programme and the constituent components of psychological resources. Through the decomposition of the psychological resources variable this study aims to gain a more in-depth understanding of the factors influencing engagement.

Click here to download Ailbhe’s accompanying presentation slides


Comparing the PFL Community with a Comparison Group: Accounting for nonrandom differences

Caitriona Logue, Research Assistant & Phd Candidate

In the Preparing for Life randomised experiment, ethical constraints have prevented the creation of a traditional treatment and control group. Instead, Preparing for Life is a dosage experiment whereby the participants are randomly assigned to either a high or low treatment group. As all participants receive some level of intervention, the impact of the common set of provisions could be hidden by simply comparing the two experimental groups. Therefore, the research survey was also administered to a third “no treatment” group. This group was recruited from a separate community and represents a higher socioeconomic group. Given the small sample size, it is statically challenging to run comparisons between the Preparing for Life cohort and the participants who received no treatment, while also accounting for systematic differences between the groups. I will discuss the approach we have taken in this presentation.

Click here to download Caitriona’s accompanying presentation slides


‘Differences in Differences: Analysing Change Over Time’

John Regan, Research Assistant & Phd Candidate

A significant component in future Preparing for Life evaluation reports will involve comparing the outcomes of participants and groups over time. Such analysis is necessary if we are to fully understand the dynamics of child and parent development and the causal impact the programme is having on these. This presentation outlines the Differences-in-Differences method used to evaluate the programme.

Click here to download John’s accompanying presentation slides