NICU-based interventions to reduce maternal depressive and anxiety symptoms: A meta-analysis

Tamar Mendelson*, Fallon Cluxton-Keller, Genevieve C. Vullo, S. Darius Tandon, Sassan Noazin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Context: parents whose infants are being treated in the nicu are at high risk for depression abstract and anxiety, with negative implications for parenting and infant development. objective: we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of nicu-based interventions to reduce maternal depressive or anxiety symptoms. data sources: pubmed, embase, psychinfo, cochrane, and cinahl were searched for relevant studies. reference lists from selected studies were reviewed. study selection: inclusion criteria included randomized controlled design, a parent-focused intervention delivered in the nicu, valid maternal depressive or anxiety symptom measures at pre-and postintervention, and publication in a peer-reviewed journal in english. data extraction: data extraction was conducted independently by 2 coders. results: twelve studies met inclusion criteria for qualitative review; 2 were excluded from quantitative analyses for high risk of bias. fixed-and random-effects models, with 7 eligible studies assessing depressive symptoms, indicated an effect of -0.16 (95% confidence interval [ci], -0.32 to -0.002; p < .05) and, with 8 studies assessing anxiety symptoms, indicated an effect of -0.12 (95% ci, -0.29 to 0.05; p = .17). the subset of interventions using cognitive behavioral therapy significantly reduced depressive symptoms (effect, -0.44; 95% ci, -0.77 to -0.11; p = .01). limitations: the small number and methodological shortcomings of studies limit conclusions regarding intervention effects. conclusions: combined intervention effects significantly reduced maternal depressive but not anxiety symptoms. the evidence is strongest for the impact of cognitive behavioral therapy interventions on maternal depressive symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere20161870
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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