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A new group intervention can prevent depression after delivery
01 May 2012
Journal of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics
A study performed in Hungary and published in the current issue of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics introduces a new group intervention that may prevent depression after delivery.
Psychosocial and psychological interventions are generally effective in reducing depressive symptomatology in the postpartum period. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a brief preventive group intervention for postpartum depression (PPD) in a naturalistic setting, and study the effect of this on social and psychological risk factors. A randomized controlled trial (n=1,719) in south-eastern Hungary in 62 antepartum centers was conducted. Pregnant women (n=710) underwent a 4-session preventive group intervention whereas a control group (n=1,009) attended 4 sessions providing the same information given in usual care.
The intervention appeared to significantly reduce the risk of PPD, as defined by Leverton Questionnaire total scores (OR=0.69). It resulted in an absolute risk reduction of about 18% in those with antepartum depression and 0.5% in those with no depression at recruitment. A multiple logistic regression analysis revealed a much reduced risk in those with a perceived lack of partner support (OR=0.4) in the treatment group. Unplanned pregnancy, an irreversible risk factor affecting every fifth woman, also seemed to have a reduced effect on PPD after the group intervention (OR=0.81). A brief preventive antepartum group intervention focusing on psychoeducation, stress management, improving coping mechanisms, and the development of social support can be effective in reducing postpartum depressive symptomatology.