This study will compare three interventions for depressed, low income mothers and determine
which is most effective in treating maternal depression and in fostering development in
Poorly educated, low income mothers are at high risk for becoming depressed. The effects of
living in poverty and being reared by a depressed parent can be detrimental to an infant's
development. Effective interventions to reduce maternal depression and strengthen the
mother-infant relationships are needed.
Participants will be randomly assigned to one of three groups. Group 1 mothers will receive
16 weekly sessions of interpersonal psychotherapy (IP) designed to directly treat maternal
depression. Group 1 participants will have monthly follow-up visits for 1 year. Participants
in Group 2 will receive 16 weekly sessions of IP followed by 1 year of in-home,
infant-parent psychotherapy, an intervention addressing relationship difficulties between
depressed mothers and their infants. Group 3 mothers will be invited to attend informational
meetings as well as be referred to local services available to people with depression.
All mother-child pairs will be evaluated when the child is 12, 16, 24, and 36 months of age.
Evaluations will involve questionnaires, diagnostic interviews, developmental assessments,
and video- and audio-taped measures.
Inclusion Criteria for Mothers:
- Current diagnosis of depression
- Mother of an infant 9 to 11 months of age
- Low income, defined as less than $25,000 for a family of two or less than $31,400 for
a family of three (add approximately $7,960 for each additional family member)
Exclusion Criteria for Mothers:
- Current substance abuse
- Severe mental or physical limitations that would interfere with the study