A randomized controlled trial of psychological interventions for postnatal depression
Article first published online: 31 DEC 2010
2005 The British Psychological Society
British Journal of Clinical Psychology
Volume 44, Issue 4, pages 529–542, November 2005
How to Cite
Milgrom, J., Negri, L. M., Gemmill, A. W., McNeil, M. and Martin, P. R. (2005), A randomized controlled trial of psychological interventions for postnatal depression. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 44: 529–542. doi: 10.1348/014466505X34200
- Issue published online: 31 DEC 2010
- Article first published online: 31 DEC 2010
- Received 29 August 2003; revised version received 16 July 2004
Objectives. First, to establish the efficacy of psychological interventions versus routine primary care for the management of postnatal depression (PND). Secondly, to provide a direct comparison of cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) versus counselling and, finally, to compare the relative value of group and individual delivery formats.
Design. The study involved 192 depressed women drawn from a large community screening programme in Melbourne, Australia and allocated to cognitive behaviour therapy, counselling, or routine primary care. Baseline and post-intervention measures of depression and anxiety were collected in the form of validated self-report inventories.
Method. Women were screened in the community and diagnosis of depression confirmed with a standardized psychiatric interview. Interventions were of 12 weeks duration, including three partner sessions, and adhered to a structured manual.
Results. Psychological intervention per se was superior to routine care in terms of reductions in both depression and anxiety following intervention.
Conclusions. For those women with PND, psychological intervention is a better option than routine care, leading to clinically significant reduction of symptoms. Counselling may be as effective as group cognitive behaviour therapy. The benefits of psychological intervention may be maximized by being delivered on a one-to-one basis.