ARCH Lab Collaborates on Study of Postpartum Depression Therapy

The ARCH Lab collaborated on a study with colleagues from McMaster University on the effectiveness of group cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for postpartum depression (PPD) delivered by public health nurses with little to no previous psychiatric training at improving depression, worry, social support and the mother-infant relationship.

The article, titled “Public Health Nurse-delivered Group Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Postpartum Depression: A Randomized Controlled Trial”, examined outcomes of 141 mothers with PPD with an infant <12 months of age. Mothers were randomized to receive nine weekly two hour sessions of in-person group CBT for PPD delivered by two public health nurses plus treatment as usual or treatment as usual alone (control group).

Results showed participants in the experimental group had significantly greater reductions in PPD symptoms immediately post-treatment, were more likely to have a meaningful reduction in PPD symptoms, and no longer had symptoms consistent with major depressive disorder. Statistically significant improvements in worry and the mother-infant relationship were also observed, decreases were maintained at six months post-treatment.

The authors concluded that public health nurses with little to no previous psychiatric training can be trained to deliver effective group CBT for PPD to improve depression, worry, and the mother-infant relationship. Task shifting PPD treatment with group CBT to public health nurses could improve treatment uptake and lead to better outcomes for mothers, families, and the healthcare system