Family therapy is a potential strategy to increase family support for those suffering from perinatal depression. Family therapeutic interventions for this population typically target depressed women and their adult family members to improve family functioning and reduce depressive symptoms.
This systematic review and meta-analysis is a synthesis of the current evidence on the usefulness of family therapy interventions in the prevention and treatment of perinatal depression and impacts on maternal depressive symptoms and family functioning.
This study used the Cochrane Collaboration guidelines for systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Six electronic databases were searched for randomized controlled trials and cluster randomized trials. The primary outcomes included maternal depressive symptoms and family functioning.
Seven studies were included in the qualitative and quantitative analyses. Fixed effects models showed statistically significant reductions in depressive symptoms at post-intervention in intervention group mothers. Intervention intensity and level of family involvement moderated intervention impacts on maternal depression. A fixed effects model showed a trend in improving family functioning at post-intervention in intervention group couples.
Although a limited number of controlled trials on family therapeutic interventions for this population exist, the findings show that these types of interventions are effective in both the prevention and treatment of perinatal depression. Recommendations for future research are addressed.
Cluxton-Keller, Fallon and Bruce, Martha L., "Clinical Effectiveness of Family Therapeutic Interventions in the Prevention and Treatment of Perinatal Depression: a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis" (2018). Open Dartmouth: Faculty Open Access Articles. 2842.