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Interpersonal therapy with parenting enhancement does not reduce depression symptoms in low-income mothers compared with control

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Question: Does interpersonal psychotherapy combined with parenting improve depression symptoms and parenting behaviour in low-income mothers?

Patients: In total, 226 low-income mothers with clinically significant depressive symptoms (Centre for Epidemiological Studies–Depression Scale score ≥16) and their infants/toddlers (mean age 24.9 months) were enrolled in Early Head Start Enrichment Programmes for low-income children. For inclusion mother had to be aged at least 15 years, be the child's primary carer, speak English and be at least 6 weeks postpartum. Mothers already in regular psychotherapy or counselling or taking psychotropic medication were excluded.

Setting: Participants’ homes, south eastern and north eastern USA; 2004 and 2010.

Intervention: Interpersonal psychotherapy plus parenting guidance (IPT+PG) or attention control delivered over 22 weeks. IPT+PG was tailored to low-income mothers, and parenting guidance based on an assessment of each mother's observed interactions with her child. The intervention was delivered by psychiatric nurses, through 10 face-to-face home visits followed by a month of telephone calls. A final face-to-face visit was conducted to plan …

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  • Sources of funding: National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health, R01MH065524.


  • Competing interests: None.