Internet-based behavioral activation—treatment for postnatal depression (Netmums): a randomized controlled trial

O'Mahen, H. A., Woodford, J., McGinley, J., Warren, F. C., Richards, D. A., Lynch, T. R. and Taylor, R. S. (2013) Internet-based behavioral activation—treatment for postnatal depression (Netmums): a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Affective Disorders, 150(3), pp. 814-822. (doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2013.03.005) (PMID:23602514)

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Abstract

Background: Despite the high prevalence of postnatal depression (PND), few women seek help. The internet may increase timely access to treatment. We report a randomized controlled trial of a minimal intervention internet Behavioral Activation (iBA) treatment modified to address postnatal specific concerns (Postnatal-iBA). Methods: Women (n=910) recruited via a popular UK parenting site, Netmums.com, scoring above 12 on the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) were randomly assigned to receive either Postnatal-iBA delivered or treatment-as-usual (TAU). We investigated the feasibility (recruitment, trial and treatment adherence) and effectiveness (depression status EPDS >12) of the intervention. Results: Recruitment was excellent; 1261 women, 961 of whom met inclusion criteria, signed up to the trial within two 2-week recruitment periods. Thirty-eight percent (343/910) of women completed the 15-week outcome assessment. Of those who completed 15-week assessment, fewer exceeded the depression cutoff in the Postnatal-iBA group (n=66/181) compared to TAU (n=91/162). Assuming all non-respondents remained depressed, the Postnatal-iBA effect was reduced. Limitations: The study suffered from high attrition and future trials need to consider strategies for improving outcome completion. Some women reported struggles “keeping up” with the treatment. Conclusions: A minimal support, widely accessible internet Behavioral Activation program for PND is feasible to deliver to community populations when embedded within popular parenting sites. For women who provide outcome data, postnatal-iBA offers promise as an effective treatment for PND. The addition of support may reduce women’s struggles to keep pace with the treatment.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Taylor, Professor Rod
Authors: O'Mahen, H. A., Woodford, J., McGinley, J., Warren, F. C., Richards, D. A., Lynch, T. R., and Taylor, R. S.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
Journal Name:Journal of Affective Disorders
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0165-0327
ISSN (Online):1573-2517
Published Online:17 April 2013

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