This study will determine whether a prevention program reduces the incidence of postpartum
depression in pregnant women who receive public assistance and are at risk for postpartum
The impact of major depression in the postpartum period is profound, with considerable
emotional pain for the new mother as well as disturbances in infant development.
Unfortunately, few preventive interventions have been developed or systematically tested to
reduce the risk of postpartum depression. An area of even greater neglect is the development
of such an intervention for financially disadvantaged women who are at high risk for
postpartum depression and for the disturbances associated with postpartum depression. This
study will develop a psychosocial intervention for financially disadvantaged pregnant women
at risk for postpartum depression.
Participants are randomly assigned to receive either the "Life at Home with a New Baby"
intervention or care as usual. Women who receive the intervention join a counseling group in
which information about mother-baby relationships is shared. This information is reinforced
with a follow-up "booster" session after the infant is born. Participants are assessed at
baseline, after the booster session (for the intervention condition) or after 2 weeks
postdelivery (for the care as usual condition), and at 3 months postpartum. Depression
levels and social adjustment are measured at baseline and 2 weeks after delivery. Functional
status is also measured. A self-report questionnaire is completed by the mothers to measure
parental distress, parent/child dysfunctional behavior, and difficult child interactions. At
3 months postpartum, a brief standardized interview is used to assess the presence of a
- Receive public assistance
- At risk for postpartum depression
- Pregnant women between 23-32 weeks gestation