Small Moments, Big Impact: Pilot Trial of a Relational Health App for Primary Care

Published:February 16, 2022DOI:



      To conduct a pilot trial of Small Moments, Big Impact: a relational health app.


      Low-income mothers with 1 or no prior children, a full-term birth, above 18 years old, and without substance abuse were recruited. The control group was recruited prior to the intervention group to avoid contamination. Of the 117 mothers enrolled, 29 intervention and 29 control mothers completed the study. Five questionnaires were administered at baseline and 6-months to measure maternal depression, empathy, beliefs about children's emotions, intelligence mindsets, and app use. At 6 months, questionnaires assessing parenting stress, reflective functioning, and perceived value of app were also administered.


      Mothers in the final sample were similar to those who did not complete the study, except more mothers who dropped out were recruited during COVID-19 and had a lower empathetic subscale score. No differences were found between groups at pre- or post-test. However, because of skewed outcome variables which violated normality principles and the small sample size, quantile regression analyses were performed comparing the 25th, 50th, and 75th percentiles for each outcome. Controlling for pretest and potential confounders, subsets of SMBI mothers reported lower parental stress, more growth mindset and increased effort to understand their child's feelings. Ninety percent of mothers reported using SMBI at least once per week. Eighty percent of mothers would recommend the SMBI app to new mothers.


      Most mothers used SMBI weekly, rated it highly and reported less stress, more growth mindset, and more positive child rearing beliefs.


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