Randomized controlled trial to prevent postpartum depression in mothers on public assistance

J Affect Disord. 2016 Jan 1;189:263-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2015.09.059. Epub 2015 Sep 30.


Introduction: Postpartum depression (PPD) is a significant and common public health problem for women.

Aims: To examine the efficacy of an intervention based on the principles of interpersonal therapy (IPT) in reducing the risk of PPD in pregnant women.

Methods: Randomized controlled trial of 205 pregnant women who were 18 years old or older, on public assistance, and at risk for PPD. Participants (mean age=23; 38% Hispanic and 23% Black) were randomized to either the IPT group intervention (n=104) or the treatment as usual control (TAU) program (n=101).

Results: At 6 months, the overall depression rate in the intervention group (16%) was lower than the control group (31%) and the effect of the intervention was statistically significant at p<0.05.

Limitations: It is unknown if findings will generalize to a more heterogeneous sample of women than the current study, such as women from a range of socio-economic and cultural backgrounds, or marital status. There was a differential amount of contact between TAU and intervention conditions.

Conclusions: An IPT based intervention during the prenatal period has the potential to reduce cases of PPD within 6 months postpartum in at risk mothers on public assistance.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00601757.

Keywords: Depression; Interpersonal therapy; Intervention; Postpartum; Pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Depression, Postpartum / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Psychotherapy / methods*
  • Public Assistance
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00601757