Perinatal Dyadic Psychotherapy for postpartum depression: A randomized controlled pilot trial

The purpose of this study was to pilot test Perinatal Dyadic Psychotherapy, a novel dual-focused mother-infant intervention to prevent/decrease maternal postpartum depression and improve aspects of mother-infant relationships related to child development outcomes in mother-infants dyads in which the mother was experiencing elevated postpartum depression symptoms (sub-threshold or meeting diagnostic criteria for MDD). The specific aims were to: (1) Assess participant acceptability of study intervention and overall feasibility of study procedures, including recruitment, adherence, and retention; (2) Assess the preliminary efficacy of the PDP intervention on the primary outcomes of reducing maternal depression and enhancing the quality of mother-infant interaction at post-intervention and at three-month follow-up in order to provide information to enable sample size calculation for future studies; and (3) Explore the effects of the intervention on secondary outcomes of maternal anxiety, parenting stress, and maternal self-esteem at post-intervention and follow-up.

We hypothesized that, compared to control dyads, mother-infant dyads who received the intervention would evidence significantly (a) fewer maternal depression diagnoses, (b) lower depression severity, (b) more optimal mother-infant interaction, (c) lower maternal anxiety, (d) lower parenting stress, and (e) higher maternal self-esteem, at post-intervention and follow-up.