Nicole Pugh

Maternal Depression Online: A preliminary study

Doctoral Dissertation Results, Nicole Pugh 2014

Maternal Depression Online (MDO) was made available to Saskatchewan women from May 2012-Feburary 2014. The therapist-assisted Internet delivered Cognitive Behaviour Therapy program was designed specifically for the treatment of postpartum depression. MDO consisted of 7 interactive modules including text, graphics, animation, audio and video, and covered:(a) psychoeducation on maternal depression, (b) activity planning, (c) relaxation, (d) thinking styles, (e) cognitive restructuring, (f) problem solving, and (g) relapse prevention. Using a randomized control design, 50 women with mild to moderate postpartum depression either received MDO or waited for treatment.

Results were very promising. Symptoms of postpartum depression decreased more quickly for women participating in MDO when compared to those who waited for treatment. These results were maintained at four-week follow-up, providing preliminary support of the durability of the program. Participants who received MDO also demonstrated a reduction in symptoms of postnatal anxiety, general stress, and parental distress and an increase in quality of life when compared to participants who waited for the treatment. Participants reported high satisfaction with MDO and indicated that they enjoyed working with their Internet therapist. Discussion for future implementation of this program is underway.