Department of Psychology

Kari Eddington, Julie Mendez. Research Grant from the Group Psychotherapy Foundation" "Group Psychotherapy for Postpartum Depression"

Postpartum depression (PPD) is a serious public health concern that threatens the health and well-being of mothers and their young children. Consistent evidence has shown that maternal depression is associated with poor parenting skills, and offspring of depressed mothers are at significantly greater risk for a variety of developmental problems. Numerous studies have supported the efficacy of group-based therapy approaches for treating PPD. Treatments targeting reduction of depression as well as treatments targeting enhancement of parenting skills have been separately tested, but these treatment approaches have not been well integrated. Thus, efforts to teach parenting skills without first reducing depression may result in limited gains that are not maintained outside of therapy. On the other hand, treatments that focus on the depression alone, while effective in providing relief from symptoms, may be inadequate for reversing dysfunctional parenting behaviors. The primary objective of this project is to examine the effectiveness of a combined treatment protocol that first targets depressive symptoms and then focuses on improving the quality of the mother-infant relationship.