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03-10-2018 | Uitgave 5/2018

Journal of Behavioral Medicine 5/2018

Introducing Mother Baby Connections: a model of intensive perinatal mental health outpatient programming

Journal of Behavioral Medicine > Uitgave 5/2018
Pamela A. Geller, Bobbie Posmontier, June Andrews Horowitz, Alexa Bonacquisti, Lisa A. Chiarello


Perinatal mental health problems, experienced by 15–20% of women, are a significant public health issue associated with adverse effects among childbearing women; yet only 20–25% receive adequate treatment. There has been a recent proliferation of intensive perinatal day treatment programs in the United States. To meet this need in the greater Philadelphia area, we introduce Mother Baby Connections (MBC), an innovative interdisciplinary, attachment-focused, intensive, outpatient perinatal mental health program recently launched at Drexel University. The purpose of this paper is to (1) present an overview of MBC, its theoretical framework for services, and its evidence-based components, highlighting the unique factors that differentiate this program from traditional outpatient treatment, and (2) present clinical outcome data utilizing scores from reliable and valid scales, including enrollment to discharge outcomes from 20 months of MBC operation. In sum, outcomes for 20 predominantly minority women with complete measures showed significant improvements in maternal depression symptom severity, maternal functioning, birth trauma symptoms, perceived stress, parenting stress, and emotional regulation. Effect sizes were medium to large (i.e., 0.42–2.00). We conclude that MBC is a viable model for tailored intensive outpatient treatment to foster maternal mental health and functioning during the perinatal period.

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