Ten to 15% of mothers experience postpartum depression (PPD). If untreated, PPD may negatively affect mothers' and infants' mental health in the long term. Accordingly, effective treatments are required. In the present study, we investigated the effect of detached mindfulness (DM) and stress management training (SMT) as adjuvants, compared to pharmacologic treatment only, on symptoms of depression in women with PPD. Forty-five primiparae (mean age: M = 24.5 years) with diagnosed PPD and treated with an SSRI (citalopram; CIT) took part in the study. At baseline, they completed questionnaires covering socio-demographic data and symptoms of depression. Experts rated also symptoms of depression. Next, participants were randomly assigned to one of the following study conditions: adjuvant detached mindfulness (CIT+DM); adjuvant stress management training (CIT+SMT); control condition (CIT). Self- and experts' ratings were completed at the end of the study 8 weeks later, and again at 8 weeks follow-up. Symptoms of depression decreased significantly over time, but more so in the CIT+DM and CIT+SMT group, compared to the control condition. The pattern of results remained stable at follow-up. In primiparae with PPD and treated with a standard SSRI, adjuvant psychotherapeutic interventions led to significant and longer-lasting improvements.
Keywords: Detached mindfulness; Postpartum depression; Standard SSRI treatment; Stress management training.