Preventing perinatal depression in low-income home visiting clients: A randomized controlled trial

S. Darius Tandon*, Deborah F. Perry, Tamar Mendelson, Karen Kemp, Julie A. Leis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


To assess the efficacy of a 6-week cognitive-behavioral intervention in preventing the onset of perinatal depression and reducing depressive symptoms among low-income women in home visitation programs. Sixty-one women who were pregnant or who had a child less than 6 months of age and who were assessed as at risk for perinatal depression were randomized to a 6-week, group-based cognitive-behavioral intervention or usual home visiting services. Study participants were predominately African American, unmarried, and unemployed. Intervention sessions were led by a licensed clinical social worker or clinical psychologist. Home visitors provided 1-on-1 reinforcement of key intervention messages between group sessions. Depressive symptoms were measured with the Beck Depression Inventory-II (Beck, Steer, & Brown, 1996), and major depressive episodes were measured with the Maternal Mood Screener (MMS; Le & Muñoz, 1998). Outcomes were assessed at baseline and at 1 week and 3 months postintervention. Repeated measures analysis of variance indicated that there was a significant Time × Condition interaction, F(2, 112) = 4.1, p =.02. At 3 months postintervention, 9 of 27 (33) women receiving usual care reported levels of depressive symptoms that met clinical cutoff for depression on the MMS compared with 3 of 32 (9) women in the intervention condition, χ 2(1, N = 59) = 5.18, p <.05. This study provides preliminary data on the efficacy of a cognitive-behavioral intervention to prevent perinatal depression among home visiting clients and suggests it is feasible to embed such an intervention in home visitation programs. A larger trial is warranted to attempt to replicate study findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)707-712
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2011


  • African American
  • home visiting
  • postpartum depression
  • prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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