Interpersonal psychotherapy versus brief supportive therapy for depressed infertile women: first pilot randomized controlled trial

Arch Womens Ment Health. 2012 Jun;15(3):193-201. doi: 10.1007/s00737-012-0277-z. Epub 2012 Apr 12.


Infertility is strongly associated with depression, yet treatment research for depressed infertile women is sparse. This study tested for the first time the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT), the evidence-based antidepressant intervention with the greatest peripartum research support, as treatment for depressed women facing fertility problems. Patients who met DSM-IV criteria for major depressive disorder of at least moderate severity were randomized to either 12 sessions of IPT (n = 15) or brief supportive psychotherapy (BSP; n = 16), our control intervention. Eighty percent of IPT and 63 % of BSP patients completed the 12 sessions of therapy. Patients in both treatments improved. IPT produced a greater response rate than BSP, with more than two-thirds of women achieving a >50 % reduction in scores on the Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS). IPT also tended to have lower posttreatment scores on the Beck Depression Inventory, Clinical Global Impression-Severity Scale, and anxiety subscale of the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, with between-group effect sizes ranging from 0.61 to 0.76. Gains persisted at 6-month follow-up. This pilot trial suggests that IPT is a promising treatment for depression in the context of infertility and that it may fare better than a rigorous active control condition. Should subsequent randomized controlled trials support these findings, this will inform clinical practice and take an important step in assuring optimal care for depressed women struggling with infertility.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder / therapy*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female / psychology*
  • Infertility, Female / therapy
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Psychotherapy, Brief / methods*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult