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Evaluation of community treatments for post partum depression

Highet, Nicole (1998) Evaluation of community treatments for post partum depression. Professional Doctorate thesis, Murdoch University.

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Treatment efficacy was evaluated for 186 women seeking treatment for Post Partum Depression (PPD) in the community. Self report questionnaires were designed to assess clinical depression and anxiety (psychological and physiological). Risk factors for PPD, satisfaction with treatment and changes in support received from general sources, the baby’s father, and health providers were also considered with respect to treatment outcome.

Comparison of treated subjects with those on a waitlist demonstrated that treatment significantly reduced psychological depression and anxiety. Psychological intervention was as effective as pharmacological intervention in the treatment of psychological symptoms, and receiving both treatments in combination was of no clinical benefit in the immediate or longer term. Individual treatment was associated with more rapid treatment gains initially than group treatment; however, the benefits of groups emerged during the six months following treatment, leading both interventions to be equally effective in the longer term. Cognitive therapy was not superior to the combination of non-specific counselling and behavioural strategies, either immediately following treatment or six months later. Satisfaction with treatment services was positively related to immediate treatment outcome.

The results from the present study have important implications for clinical practice and research of PPD. The clinical efficacy of psychological treatment, and the associated clinical and financial benefits strongly advocate its role for the treatment of PPD. Since the findings parallel the literature for general depression, the integration of knowledge and research practices for general depression should be applied to extend understanding of PPD and refine clinical management practices.

Item Type: Thesis (Professional Doctorate)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Division of Social Sciences, Humanities and Education
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: Thank you.
Supervisor(s): UNSPECIFIED
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