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Centre for Research & Education on Violence Against Women & Children

STEP: Supporting the transition to and engagement in parenthood in adults who experienced maltreatment as children

The S.T.E.P project designed, delivered, and evaluated an innovative intervention aimed at adults who have experienced abuse or neglect during their childhood and are awaiting a child. This intervention aims to (a) promote the physical and mental health of Canadians who were abused/ neglected during their childhood and are at the transition to parenthood, (b) promote the psychosocial development of their child, and (c) intercept intergenerational cycles of abuse. 
Learn more: 

 Project at a glance:

Fact sheet

View English Project Fact Sheet (PDF)

What we found:

Learn about us:

Final report: 

Community of Practice Members

Nicolas Berthelot, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières

Roxanne Lemieux, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières

Project Resources

Journal articles 

  • Berthelot, N., Savard, C., Lemieux, R., Garon-Bissonnette, J., Ensink, K., Godbout, N. (2021). Development and validation of a self-report measure assessing failures in the mentalization of trauma and adverse relationships.Child Abuse and Neglect.Published online March 8 2021. 
  • Gamache, D., Savard, C., Leclerc, P., Payant, M., Berthelot, N., Côté, A., Faucher, J., Lampron, M., Lemieux, R., Mayrand, K., Nolin, M.-C., & Tremblay, M. (2021). A proposed classification of ICD-11 severity levels of personality pathology using the Self and Interpersonal Functioning Scale (SIFS). Frontiers in Psychiatry: Psychopathology, 12, 628057, 1-15. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2021.628057 
  • Gamache, D., Savard, C., Lemieux, R., Berthelot, N. (2021). Impact of level of personality pathology on affective, behavioral, and thought problems in pregnant women during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 pandemic. Personality Disorders : Theory, Research and Treatment. Published online January 7 2021. 
  • Garon-Bissonnette, J., Duguay, G., Lemieux, R., Dubois-Comtois, K. & Berthelot, N. (2021). Maternal childhood abuse and neglect predicts offspring development in early childhood: The roles of reflective functioning and child sex. Child Abuse and Neglect. Published online March 8 2021. 
  • Lemieux, R., Garon-Bissonnette, J., Loiselle, M., Martel, E., Drouin-Maziade, C., & Berthelot, N. (2020). Association entre la fréquence de consultation des médias d’information et les symptômes psychiatriques chez les femmes enceintes durant la pandémie de COVID-19. Revue Canadienne de Psychiatrie, 66(1), 34-42. 
  • Borelli, J., Ensink, K., Falasiri, E., Bernazzani, O., Fonagy, P., & Berthelot, N. (2020). Mothers’ self-focused reflective functioning interacts with childhood experiences of rejection to predict current romantic relationship quality and parenting behavior. Family Process. First published online October 07 2020. 
  • Berthelot, N., Garon-Bissonnette, J., Drouin-Maziade, C., Duguay, G., Milot, T., Lemieux, R., Lacharité, C., St-Laurent, D., Dubois-Comtois, K. (2020). Parental cannabis use: Contradictory discourses in the media, governmental publications and the scientific literature. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 59(3), 333-335. doi:10.1016/j.jaac.2019.09.026. 
  • Berthelot, N., Lemieux, R., Garon-Bissonnette, J., Drouin-Maziade, C., Martel, E., & Maziade, M. (2020). Uptrend in distress and psychiatric symptomatology in pregnant women during the COVID-19 pandemic. Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, 99(7), 848-855. doi:10.1111/AOGS.13925 
  • Berthelot, N., Garon-Bissonnette, J., Lemieux, R., Drouin-Maziade, C., Maziade, M. (2020). Paucity of intervention research in childhood trauma contrasts with the long known relation with negative outcomes : is trauma research translational enough? Mental Health & Prevention. Mental Health & Prevention. Available online 23 June 2020. 
  • Berthelot, N., Lemieux. R., Garon-Bissonnette, J., & Muzik, M. (2020). Prenatal attachment, parental confidence and mental health in expecting parents: The role of childhood trauma.Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health,65(1), 85-95. doi: 10.1111/jmwh.13034. 
  • Lemieux, R., Loiselle, M., Berthelot, N. (2020). Are psychiatric nurses sufficiently informed about childhood maltreatment. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 27(3), 203-204.  
  • Berthelot, N., Lemieux. R., Garon-Bissonnette, J., Lacharité, C., & Muzik, M. (2019). The protective role of mentalizing: Reflective functioning as a mediator between trauma, psychopathology and parental attitude in expecting parents. Child Abuse and Neglect, 95, 104065. 
  • Berthelot, N., Lemieux. R., & Maziade, M. (2019). Shortfall of intervention research over correlational research in childhood maltreatment. JAMA Pediatrics, 173(11), 1009-1010. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2019.1684. 
  • Berthelot, N., Lemieux. R., & Lacharité, C. (2018). Development of a prenatal program for adults exposed to childhood abuse or neglect: A Delphi consensus consultation study. Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention in Canada, 38(11), 393-403. doi: 10.24095/hpcdp.38.11.01. PMID: 30430814. 
  • Lemieux, R., Berthelot, N. & Drouin-Maziade, C. (2018). Designing a mentalization-based intervention for adults with history of childhood maltreatment and who are awaiting a child: the STEP project. Infant Mental Health Journal, 39(supp.1), 298-299. 
  • Ensink, K., Berthelot, N., Bégin, M., Maheux, J., & Normandin, L. (2017). Dissociation mediates the relationship between sexual abuse and child psychological difficulties. Child Abuse & Neglect, 69, 116-124 
  • Gilbert, E., Paccalet, T., Berthelot, N., Marquet, P., & Maziade, M. (2017). Prevention research in major psychoses should draw concepts from other complex disorders. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 43(suppl_1), S163-S164. 
  • Berthelot, N. (2016). La mentalisation : au cœur de la pratique clinique et de la santé mentale. Revue Québécoise de Psychologie, 37(3), 1-5. 
  • Ensink, K., Berthelot, N., Biberdzic, M., & Normandin, L. (2016). The Mirror Paradigm: Assessing the embodied-self in the context of abuse. Psychoanalytic psychology, 33(3), 389-405. doi :10.1037/pap0000018 
  • Ensink, K., Normandin, N., Plamondon, A., Berthelot, N., & Fonagy, P. (2016). Intergenerational pathways from reflective functioning to infant attachment through parenting. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, 48(1), 9-18. 
  • Maheux, J., Collin-Vézina, D., Macintosh, H., Berthelot, N., & Hêtu, S. (2016). Capacités de mentalisation spécifique au trauma auprès d’adultes ayant subi des agressions sexuelles durant l’enfance. Revue Québécoise de Psychologie, 37(3), 93-115. 
  • Berthelot, N., Drouin-Maziade, C., Garon-Bissonnette, J., Lemieux, R., Sériès, T., & Lacharité, C. (2021). Evaluation of the acceptability of a prenatal program for women with histories of childhood trauma: STEP (Supporting the Transition to and Engagement in Parenthood). Frontiers in Psychiatry, 12, article #772206, 1-8.
  • Garon-Bissonnette, J., Grisé Bolduc, M.-È., Lemieux, R., & Berthelot, N. (2022). Cumulative childhood trauma and complex psychiatric symptoms in pregnant women and expecting men. BMC Pregnancy and Chilbirth, 22(10),