Postpartum depression in women receiving public assistance: pilot study of an interpersonal-therapy-oriented group intervention

Am J Psychiatry. 2001 Apr;158(4):638-40. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.158.4.638.


Objective: This study investigated whether a preventive intervention based on the principles of interpersonal psychotherapy administered to pregnant women would reduce the risk of postpartum major depression.

Method: Thirty-seven pregnant women receiving public assistance who had at least one risk factor for postpartum depression were randomly assigned to a four-session group intervention or to a treatment-as-usual condition. Thirty-five of the women completed the study. Structured diagnostic interviews were administered to assess for postpartum major depression.

Results: Within 3 months after they gave birth, six (33%) of the 18 women in the treatment-as-usual condition had developed postpartum major depression, compared with none of the 17 women in the intervention condition.

Conclusions: A four-session interpersonal-therapy-oriented group intervention was successful in preventing the occurrence of major depression during a postpartum period of 3 months in a group of financially disadvantaged women.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Depression, Postpartum / diagnosis
  • Depression, Postpartum / prevention & control*
  • Depression, Postpartum / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Life Change Events
  • Personality Inventory / statistics & numerical data
  • Pilot Projects
  • Postpartum Period
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Care*
  • Psychotherapy, Group / methods*
  • Public Assistance*
  • Risk Factors