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Interventions for postnatal depression assessing the mother–infant relationship and child developmental outcomes: a systematic review

Authors Tsivos Z, Calam R, Sanders M, Wittkowski A

Received 22 October 2014

Accepted for publication 9 February 2015

Published 23 April 2015 Volume 2015:7 Pages 429—447


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Professor Elie Al-Chaer

Zoe-Lydia Tsivos,1 Rachel Calam,1 Matthew R Sanders,1,2 Anja Wittkowski1

1School of Psychological Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK; 2Parenting and Family Support Center, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

Abstract: Postnatal depression (PND) has negative effects on maternal well-being as well as implications for the mother–infant relationship, subsequent infant development, and family functioning. There is growing evidence demonstrating that PND impacts on a mother’s ability to interact with sensitivity and responsiveness as a caregiver, which may have implications for the infant’s development of self-regulatory skills, making the infant more vulnerable to later psychopathology. Given the possible intergenerational transmission of risk to the infant, the mother–infant relationship is a focus for treatment and research. However, few studies have assessed the effect of treatment on the mother–infant relationship and child developmental outcomes. The main aim of this paper was to conduct a systematic review and investigate effect sizes of interventions for PND, which assess the quality of the mother–infant dyad relationship and/or child outcomes in addition to maternal mood. Nineteen studies were selected for review, and their methodological quality was evaluated, where possible, effect sizes across maternal mood, quality of dyadic relationship, and child developmental outcomes were calculated. Finally, clinical implications in the treatment of PND are highlighted and recommendations made for further research.

Keywords: postnatal depression, infant development, intervention, dyad, mother–infant relationship, systematic review

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