The effect of brief alcohol intervention on postpartum depression

MCN Am J Matern Child Nurs. Sep-Oct 2009;34(5):297-302. doi: 10.1097/01.NMC.0000360422.06486.c4.


Purpose: To report on secondary results from the Healthy Moms Study, a clinical trial to test the efficacy of brief intervention on reducing alcohol use and alcohol-related harms in postpartum women.

Study design and methods: Data from a randomized clinical trial conducted between 2002 and 2005 with a sample of Wisconsin women was analyzed. This report presents comparison data on depressive symptomatology between postpartum women drinking above recommended levels who received a brief alcohol intervention and those who received no intervention.

Results: At 6-month follow-up, there was a significant reduction in mean depression scores compared to baseline in the women who received the alcohol intervention (p < .001). There was no significant reduction in depressive symptomatology in the control group. Mean level of depression at 6 months was significantly predicted by baseline depression and the alcohol intervention (p = .018). Alcohol use at either baseline or follow-up was not a predictive factor in determining mean depressive symptomatology.

Clinical implications: The results of the Healthy Moms Study support the importance of both alcohol and depression screening during the postpartum period. Brief alcohol intervention during this time may also positively affect depressive symptomatology.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects
  • Alcoholism / complications*
  • Alcoholism / diagnosis
  • Alcoholism / psychology
  • Alcoholism / therapy*
  • Counseling*
  • Depression, Postpartum / complications*
  • Depression, Postpartum / diagnosis
  • Depression, Postpartum / psychology
  • Depression, Postpartum / therapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening
  • Maternal Welfare
  • Young Adult