Online Peer-Delivered Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Aids Postpartum Depression

Other benefits seen for improved maternal social support, infant-focused anxiety, and negative emotionality in infants

HealthDay News — Online peer-delivered group cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is effective for treating postpartum depression (PPD) and anxiety, according to a study published online Aug. 31 in Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica.

Donya Merza, from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and colleagues conducted a randomized controlled trial to determine if a synchronous online nine-week group CBT intervention delivered by mothers who recovered from PPD could effectively improve PPD and its comorbidities. The analysis included 183 participants with an infant aged younger than 12 months.

The researchers found significant reductions in Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale and Generalized Anxiety Disorder Questionnaire-7 scores, with improvements persisting three months postintervention. There were also postintervention improvements in maternal social support, infant-focused anxiety, and infant negative emotionality, which persisted three months later.

“This intervention could provide the means to increase access to treatment for those experiencing PPD and improve outcomes for mothers, birthing parents, and families,” the authors write. “Given its effectiveness, potential cost-savings, and the number of potential peer facilitators that could be trained, this intervention could serve as an important early step in stepped care models for the treatment of PPD.”

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