Archives of Women's Mental Health

, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 25–36 | Cite as

A systematic review of interventions for healthcare professionals to improve screening and referral for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders

  • Molly M. LongEmail author
  • Robert J. Cramer
  • Jennika Jenkins
  • Linda Bennington
  • James F. Paulson
Review Article


Postpartum depression affects approximately 11% of women. However, screening for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMAD) is rare and inconsistent among healthcare professionals. When healthcare professionals screen, they often rely on clinical judgment, rather than validated screening tools. The objective of the current study is to review the types and effectiveness of interventions for healthcare professionals that have been used to increase the number of women screened and referred for PMAD. Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses was utilized to guide search and reporting strategies. PubMed/Medline, PsychInfo/PsychArticles, Cumulative Index to Nursing, Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), and Health Source: Nursing/Academic Edition databases were used to find studies that implemented an intervention for healthcare professionals to increase screening and referral for PMAD. Twenty-five studies were included in the review. Based on prior quality assessment tools, the quality of each article was assessed using an assessment tool created by the authors. The four main outcome variables were the following: percentage of women screened, percentage of women referred for services, percentage of women screened positive for PMAD, and provider knowledge, attitudes, and/or skills concerning PMAD. The most common intervention type was educational, with others including changes in electronic medical records and standardized patients for training. Study quality and target audience varied among the studies. Interventions demonstrated moderate positive impacts on screening completion rates, referral rates for PMAD, and patient-provider communication. Studies suggested positive receptivity to screening protocols by mothers and providers. Given the prevalence and negative impacts of PMAD on mothers and children, further interventions to improve screening and referral are needed.


Postpartum depression PMAD Intervention Screening Referral 

Supplementary material

737_2018_876_MOESM1_ESM.docx (16 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 15 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Molly M. Long
    • 1
    Email author
  • Robert J. Cramer
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jennika Jenkins
    • 3
  • Linda Bennington
    • 4
  • James F. Paulson
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Community and Environmental HealthOld Dominion UniversityNorfolkUSA
  2. 2.Virginia Consortium Program in Clinical PsychologyNorfolkUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyOld Dominion UniversityNorfolkUSA
  4. 4.School of NursingOld Dominion UniversityNorfolkUSA

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