Reducing postpartum depressive symptoms among black and latina mothers: A randomized controlled trial

Elizabeth A. Howell, Amy Balbierz, Jason Wang, Michael Parides, Caron Zlotnick, Howard Leventhal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE:: To estimate the effectiveness of a behavioral educational intervention to reduce postpartum depressive symptoms among minority mothers. METHODS:: We recruited 540 self-identified black and Latina mothers during their postpartum hospital stay and randomized them to receive a behavioral educational intervention or enhanced usual care. Those in the intervention arm received a two-step behavioral educational intervention that prepares and educates mothers about modifiable factors associated with symptoms of postpartum depression (physical symptoms, low social support, low self-efficacy, and infant factors), bolsters social support, enhances management skills, and increases participant's access to resources. Enhanced usual care participants received a list of community resources and received a 2-week control call. Participants were surveyed before randomization and, 3 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months later to assess depressive symptoms. The primary outcome, depression, was assessed using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (score of 10 or greater). RESULTS:: Positive depression screens were less common among intervention compared with enhanced usual care posthospitalization: 3 weeks (8.8% compared with 15.3%, P=.03), 3 months (8.4% compared with 13.24%, P=.09), and 6 months (8.9% compared with 13.7%, P=.11). An intention-to-treat repeated-measures analysis for up to 6 months of follow-up demonstrated that mothers in the intervention group were less likely to screen positive for depression compared with enhanced usual care (odds ratio 0.67, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.47-0.97; number needed to treat 16, 95% CI 9-112). CONCLUSION:: An action-oriented behavioral educational intervention reduced positive depression screens among black and Latina postpartum mothers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)942-949
Number of pages8
JournalObstetrics and gynecology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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