Effectiveness of self-help psychological interventions for treating and preventing postpartum depression: a meta-analysis
Previous studies have reported different effect sizes for self-help interventions designed to reduce postpartum depression symptoms; therefore, a comprehensive quantitative review of the research was required. A meta-analysis was conducted to examine the effectiveness of self-help interventions designed to treat and prevent postpartum depression, and identified nine relevant randomized controlled trials. Differences in depressive symptoms between self-help interventions and control conditions, changes in depressive symptoms following self-help interventions, and differences in postintervention recovery and improvement rates between self-help interventions and control conditions were assessed in separate analyses. In treatment trials, depression scores continued to decrease from baseline to posttreatment and follow-up assessment in treatment subgroups. Changes in treatment subgroups’ depression scores from baseline to postintervention assessment were greater relative to those observed in prevention subgroups. Self-help interventions produced larger overall effects on postpartum depression, relative to those observed in control conditions, in posttreatment (Hedges’ g = 0.51) and follow-up (Hedges’ g = 0.32) assessments; and self-help interventions were significantly more effective, relative to control conditions, in promoting recovery from postpartum depression. Effectiveness in preventing depression did not differ significantly between self-help interventions and control conditions.The findings suggested that self-help interventions designed to treat postpartum depression reduced levels of depressive symptoms effectively and decreased the risk of postpartum depression.
KeywordsSelf-help Depression Postpartum Meta-analysis Randomized controlled trial
This work was financially supported by grants from the Science and Technology Major Project of Shandong Province (grant number: 2015ZDXX0801A01).
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.
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