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Effectiveness of Educational Materials Designed to Change Knowledge and Behaviors Regarding Crying and Shaken-Baby Syndrome in Mothers of Newborns: A Randomized, Controlled Trial

NCJ Number
Pediatrics Volume: 123 Dated: 2009 Pages: 972-80
Date Published
9 pages

The authors report on their study to determine the effects of the Period of PURPLE Crying intervention program on mothers’ knowledge level regarding the dangers of shaking babies.


The authors report on their efforts to determine if parent education materials, The Period of PURPLE Crying (PURPLE), change maternal knowledge and behavior relevant to infant shaking. This study was a randomized, controlled trial conducted in prenatal classes, maternity wards, and pediatric practices. There were 1374 mothers of newborns randomly assigned to the PURPLE intervention and 1364 mothers to the control group. Primary outcomes were measured by telephone two months after delivery. These included two knowledge scales about crying and the dangers of shaking; three scales about behavioral responses to crying generally and to unsoothable crying, and caregiver self-talk in response to unsoothable crying; and three questions concerning the behaviors of sharing of information with others about crying, walking away if frustrated, and the dangers of shaking. The authors found that the mean infant crying knowledge score was greater in the intervention group (69.5) compared with controls (63.3). Mean shaking knowledge was greater for intervention subjects (84.8) compared with controls (83.5). For reported maternal behavioral responses to crying generally, responses to unsoothable crying, and for self-talk responses, mean scores for intervention mothers were similar to those for controls. For the behaviors of information sharing, more intervention mothers reported sharing information about walking away if frustrated and the dangers of shaking, but there was little difference in sharing information about infant crying. Intervention mothers also reported increased infant distress. The authors conclude that the use of the PURPLE education materials seem to lead to higher scores in knowledge about early infant crying and the dangers of shaking, and in sharing of information behaviors considered to be important for the prevention of shaking. Publisher Abstract Provided

Date Published: January 1, 2009