|Continuing Nursing Education
Outcomes of a Massage Intervention on Teen Mothers: A Pilot Study
Krista L. Oswalt
Fred J. Biasini
Lynda Law Wilson
The difficulties that adolescent mothers encounter as a result of the combined stress of adolescence, parenthood,
maintaining peer relationships, and establishing positive relationships with their infants have been
identified in the literature, and these characteristics are often associated with poor infant outcomes. This
study was designed to examine the effects of an infant massage intervention on adolescent mothers’ attitudes
and perceptions of their infants. Twenty-five African-American adolescent mothers (mean age 16.13
years), who were enrolled in a parent training program for high school students in a southern state, participated
in the project. The mothers were assigned randomly to an intervention (9) or control group (16).
After a brief training session, participants in the intervention group practiced massage with their infants for
approximately 2 months. Data analysis was based on the 15 participants who completed both baseline and
2-month follow-up measures (8 in the control group and 7 in the intervention group). This study found some
support for teaching infant massage to adolescent mothers as a way of enhancing maternal-infant physical
contact and lowering depression, as well as positively influencing mothers’ perceptions of infant temperament.
Results indicate that infant massage training may lead to improvements beyond those achieved with
a typical parent education curriculum and shows potential as a low-cost supplement to current teen mother
education in high schools.