Families First

This study investigates the impact of childhood experiences, (marital) relationship, and social support among normative first-time parents on

a) parenting and parental health and wellbeing and
b) the effects of these factors on the development and health of the child.

The survey data was collected from 1013 parents expecting their first child. The data set is longitudinal, and starts at the third trimester of pregnancy and until the child 24 months, with an option for later follow-ups (permission obtained from 403 parents). In five measurement waves we collected data on depression, stress, parental reflective functioning, relationship satisfaction, social support, sense of coherence and major life changes among the parents, and on health and development of the child. The parents were recruited from maternity clinics from around 80 communities all over the country.

1. Longitudinal study from pregnancy until the child is two years
The approach of the study is a systemic and transactional approach of development, including health, mental health, demographic and socio-economic considerations.

2. Families First Intervention Study. 
The Impact of Mentalization Based Group Support on parenting, parent-child relationship and child development and health. Case-control study comparing intervention parents (n=86) with non-intervention parents and a qualitative study on parents experiences of parental groups.

3. Impact of use and perception of support on parenting and child development.
Focus on the impact of support from maternity and well-baby clinics (Neuvola); open groups; and from friends and family on health and well-being, including socio-economic factors and intergenerational transmission of adversity.

Professor Linda C Mayes and Assistant Professor Helena Rutherford, Yale Child Study Center, Yale University
Associate Professor Nancy Suchman, Yale School of Medicine, Yale University
Yoshie Yokoyama, University of Osaka, Japan
Adjunct Professor Tuovi Hakulinen, THL, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki Finland
MA Malin von Koskull, Folkhälsan, Helsinki Finland
Psych Lic. Marie Rautava, Mannerheim League for Child Welfare, Helsinki Finland

Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki
Gyllenberg Foundation
Asla Fulbright Foundation
Folkhälsan Research Center
Medicinska föreningen för Liv och Hälsa
Louis and Göran Ehrnrooth Foundation
Niilo Helander Foundation
Research Advisory Board, International Psychoanalytic Association

PI Mirjam Kalland, professor in Early Education and Care, University of Helsinki

Marjukka Pajulo, PhD, MD, Adjunct Professor, University of Turku

Saara Salo, PhD, Post Doc researcher, University of Helsinki

Johanna Sourander, Doctoral Student, University of Jyväskylä,

Laszlo Vincze, Adjunct professor, Senior University Lecturer, Swedish School of Social Science, University of Helsinki

Simo Raittila, Doctoral Student, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki

Martina Salvén-Bodin, Clinical Psychologist, City of Espoo

29.2-2.6 2016, Prof. Kalland, Yale Child Study Center, Asla Fulbright Research Grant for a Senior Researcher

Kalland M, Raittila S, Pajulo M, Salvén M, Vincze L. Marital status, relationship satisfaction, depression and infant health among a sample of Finnish First-time parents. World Infant Mental Health Congress, Rome 27.5. 2018


Kalland M, Raittila S, Pajulo M, Salo S, Salvén M, Vincze L. Impact of group support on mental health, marital relationship and parenting among a sample of Finnish First-time Parents. World Infant Mental Health, Rome 27.5. 2018


Kalland, M.1, Pajulo, M.2, Sourander, J.3, Salven, M.4, Von Koskull, M.5 1 Families First. Evaluating the efficacy of a mentalization-based group intervention for first-time parents. World Infant Mental Health, Prague, 29.5-2.6, 2016

Sourander, J.1, Kalland, M.2, Laakso, M.-L.1 1 P202 Mentalization-based Families First intervention for first-time parents: A qualitative study of Parents’ Perspective. World Infant Mental Health, Prague, 29.5-2.6 2016

Kalland M Fagerlund Å Pajulo M et al.:  Families First: A Mentalization-Based Group Intervention for First-Time Parents to Promote Child Development and Family Health Symposium presentation, WAIMH Congress, Edinburgh, Scotland 2014

Pajulo M, Von Koskull M, Kalland M, Boukydis Z, Castoor C, Pajulo H. “Baby’s mind in mind”: Three Finnish studies evaluating and enhancing pre-and postnatal parental capacity to mentalise about the baby and parenting. Symposium presentation accepted, WAIMH Congress, Cape Town, South Africa, 2012

Kalland M. Plenary: Promoting early attachment by supporting early parenthood. Mentalization based groups for first-time parents. Congress on Early Childhood Intervention, Council of the Baltic Sea States, Berlin 2011

Kalland M 2019: Voiko ryhmä tukea ensikertalaisvanhempien vanhemmuutta ja parisuhdetta?  Families First- tutkimusprojektin tuloksia. Julkaisussa ”Vanhemmuuden ja parisuhteen tuen vahvistaminen – teoriasta käytäntöön” Tuovi Hakulinen & Jukka Mäkelä & Taina Laajasalo (toim.), THL:n työpapereita (in press)

Yokoyama Y, Hakulinen T, Sukimoto M, Silventoinen K, Kalland M 2017.  Maternal wellbeing and health care services in Japan and Finland. European Journal of Public Health, published online 19.12.2017.

Kalland M, Fagerlund Å, von Koskull M Pajulo M. 2016. Families First: The Development of a New Mentalization-Based Group Intervention for First–Time Parents.  Primary Health Care Research and Development. p. 1-15 15

Kalland M. 2017. Mentalisaatio ja vanhemmuus (Mentalization and Parenting). Kirjassa: Laitinen I & Ollikainen S (ed.) Mentalisaatio. Therapeia-säätiö.

Kalland M 2014. Vanhemman mentalisaatiokyky.  (Parental Mentalization) In Viinikka A (ed.) Mentalisaatio perheiden kohtaamisessa , s. 26-38. Mannerheimin Lastensuojeluliitto

Kalland M & von Koskull M. 2014. Promotiivinen näkökulma vanhemmuuden tukemiseen. In Viinikka A (ed.) Mentalisaatio perheiden kohtaamisessa, 158-167. Mannerheimin Lastensuojeluliitto

Salo S & Kalland M. 2014. Lapsen mentalisaatiokyky 39-54. In Viinikka A (ed.) Mentalisaatio perheiden kohtaamisessa, 39-54. Mannerheimin Lastensuojeluliitto

Kalland M 2013. Mentalisaation ja reflektiivisen kyvyn vahvistaminen vanhemmuudessa. In Mellenius N & Remsu N. Vuorovaikutus kuvassa. Videoavusteisen ohjauksen eettisyys ja käytäntö. Mannerheimin Lastensuojeluliiton Lasten ja nuorten kuntoutussäätiö.

Kalland M. 2012 The importance of social support and reflective functioning for parenthood. In Kekkonen M, Montonen M & Viitala R (ed.)  Family centre in the Nordic countries – a meeting point for children and families. Nordic Council of Ministers, Copenhagen.