Friday, January 20, 2017

New Paper on Day Reconstruction and Policy Trials

See below for our recently published paper utilising day reconstruction methods in the context of a randomised policy intervention in Dublin. Using such methods to examine the well-being effect of public policies is a promising area and we are currently working on a set of studies widening the methodology to also examine choices and mechanisms of behavioural change.

Can Early Intervention Improve Maternal Well-Being? Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial

Orla Doyle ,
Liam Delaney,
Christine O’Farrelly,
Nick Fitzpatrick,
Michael Daly

Published: January 17, 2017



This study estimates the effect of a targeted early childhood intervention program on global and experienced measures of maternal well-being utilizing a randomized controlled trial design. The primary aim of the intervention is to improve children’s school readiness skills by working directly with parents to improve their knowledge of child development and parenting behavior. One potential externality of the program is well-being benefits for parents given its direct focus on improving parental coping, self-efficacy, and problem solving skills, as well as generating an indirect effect on parental well-being by targeting child developmental problems.


Participants from a socio-economically disadvantaged community are randomly assigned during pregnancy to an intensive 5-year home visiting parenting program or a control group. We estimate and compare treatment effects on multiple measures of global and experienced well-being using permutation testing to account for small sample size and a stepdown procedure to account for multiple testing.


The intervention has no impact on global well-being as measured by life satisfaction and parenting stress or experienced negative affect using episodic reports derived from the Day Reconstruction Method (DRM). Treatment effects are observed on measures of experienced positive affect derived from the DRM and a measure of mood yesterday.


The limited treatment effects suggest that early intervention programs may produce some improvements in experienced positive well-being, but no effects on negative aspects of well-being. Different findings across measures may result as experienced measures of well-being avoid the cognitive biases that impinge upon global assessments.

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