Adolescent Health

The Value of Mother-Daughter Bonding 

September 14, 2022

Building our Nation’s Daughters (BOND) in Baltimore, MD is a program to strengthen mother-daughter relationships, improve mental and physical health of mother and their daughter(s), and reduce risky behavior and involvement with the juvenile justice system among daughters.   

In 2020, a team led by Assistant Professor Rebecca Fix, worked with BOND leadership to evaluate their program. They focused on two research questions: 1) How does participation in BOND influence mother and daughter well-being? and 2.) How does participation in BOND influence the single mother-adolescent daughter relationship?  

Researchers recruited five mothers and five daughters who had participated in BOND for at least five months; all participants identified as Black and resided in Baltimore, MD. They conducted in-depth interviews, asking participants to rate their experience from BOND, such as mood and ability to cope with stress, on a scale of 1 to 10.  

Overall, the team found that both mothers and daughters felt their well-being and their mother-daughter relationship had improved following BOND participation. In addition, participants described how BOND had strengthened their social support systems, a crucial component of mental health.   

These findings point out the need for more of a family-centered approach, even when addressing seemingly individual-level problems. Moving forward, the hope is to facilitate further opportunities to extend this scalable intervention for single-mother households at the school or community level. Articles about the research have been published in  Maternal and Child Health Journal, Children and Youth Services Review and Journal of Child and Family Studies.    

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