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Pilot RCT of a social media parenting intervention for postpartum mothers with depression symptoms

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Objective: This pilot study describes the adaptation of a parenting group intervention for social media, and examines the feasibility, acceptability and initial outcomes of the adapted intervention for mothers with postpartum depression symptoms.

Background: Postpartum depression can negatively affect parenting and the parent–infant relationship. Mothers with postpartum depression symptoms experience barriers to access in-person parenting interventions.

Methods: A small, randomised controlled trial was conducted with an adapted parenting intervention delivered via social media (Facebook) or in-person for mothers who screened positive for depression in paediatric clinics. Parenting sense of competence, depression symptoms and intervention attendance and satisfaction were assessed. Twenty-four mothers (mean age 26 years; predominantly African American with limited economic resources) participated in the study.

Results: Linear regressions showed that the social media group had significantly improved parenting competence and decreased depression severity when compared to the in-person group. Attendance in the social media group was high (83%), but extremely poor in the in-person group (3%). The mothers rated the intervention positively and the majority of the mothers participated by posting comments on the group page on social media.

Conclusion: The findings suggest the feasibility and benefit of delivering a parenting intervention through social media for postpartum mothers with high levels of depression symptoms.
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Keywords: Postnatal depression; intervention; parenting; technology

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, USA 2: Policylab: Center to Bridge Research Practice, & Policy, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Roberts Center for Pediatric Research, Philadelphia, PA, USA 3: Research Department, Maternity Care Coalition, Philadelphia, PA, USA 4: Children’s Research Center, University of Illinois, Champaign, IL, USA

Publication date: May 27, 2019

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