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Effect of Parenting Interventions on Perinatal Depression and Implications for Infant Developmental Outcomes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review
Japheth Adina, Alina Morawska, Amy E. Mitchell, Melinda McBryde
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Considering the significant impact of perinatal depression on both maternal wellbeing and infant development, it is important to examine the effectiveness of interventions designed to prevent or reduce these risks. This systematic review and meta-analysis synthesised evidence on parenting intervention in relation to how such programs affect symptoms of perinatal depression and infant outcomes within 12 months of postpartum. We followed the Cochrane Collaboration guidelines on conducting systematic reviews and meta-analyses. A total of five electronic databases were searched for controlled trials that met pre-determined eligibility criteria. Outcomes of interest were maternal depressive symptoms and infants’ language, motor and socioemotional development. Seventeen studies involving 1665 participants were included in the systematic review. Estimates from a random effects model of 15 studies in the final meta-analysis revealed statistically significant reductions in maternal depressive symptoms at post-intervention for mothers allocated to receive parenting interventions (SMD = − 0.34, 95%CI   − 0.44,  − 0.24; z = 5.97, p < 0.001; I2 = 0%). Data on infant development outcomes from the included studies were scarce, and therefore, infant outcomes were not analysed in this review. For individual study outcomes, the majority of studies reported a general trend for reductions in maternal depressive symptoms from pre- to post-intervention. Although parenting interventions are frequently considered preventive strategies that are designed to offer support to parents and impart skills that promote their physical and psychological wellbeing, our findings suggest that these interventions have a positive effect on perinatal depressive symptoms. Implications and recommendations for future research are addressed. The systematic review protocol was registered with PROSPERO 2020 CRD42020184491.

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