Category: Treatment - CBT
Background: The perinatal period (i.e., pregnancy and the first 12 months postpartum) is a time of many biological, psychological and social changes in a woman’s life. Although this period can be exciting, a significant proportion of women experience clinically elevated levels of distress (Matthey et al., 2003). To date, cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) protocols have primarily been developed to target depressive symptoms among women during pregnancy or the postpartum. Recent evidence suggests, however, that anxiety symptoms or anxiety disorders are at least as prevalent, if not more so, than mood disorders during this time (Goodman et al., 2014) and effective treatment is essential.
Goals and Hypotheses: To address this gap in the literature, we developed a new CBT protocol designed specifically to target the worry and anxiety symptoms commonly reported by women during pregnancy and in the postpartum period. Recent pilot data (Green et al., 2013) supports the effectiveness of this CBT protocol in treating anxiety and mood symptoms in this population. A larger RCT is now underway with an expected sample of N = 30 participants by October 2017. Preliminary data from this 2-year RCT will be presented. It is hypothesized that, when compared to a waitlist condition, CBT will be associated with greater reductions in (1) worry and anxiety and (2) in co-occurring depressive symptoms by posttreatment. Finally, (3) it is hypothesized that treatment gains will be maintained at 3-months following treatment. Participant satisfaction with the treatment protocol will also be evaluated.
Results: Participants are being recruited from the Women’s Health Concerns Clinic, St. Joseph Healthcare Hamilton, which is an outpatient program in an academic hospital. Participants are randomized to a 6-week group CBT intervention for perinatal anxiety (Green et al., 2013) or a 6-week waitlist control condition. Self-report symptom measures are administered at pre and posttreatment. Satisfaction with treatment is assessed following treatment. The impact of CBT on symptom variables will be assessed with a series of mixed-effects ANOVA analyses.
Conclusion: This study will provide an initial validation of a new CBT intervention for women who are experiencing clinically significant symptoms of anxiety during the perinatal period.
Sheryl Green– McMaster University, Toronto, Canada
Eleanor Donegan– Post-Doctoral Fellow, St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Benicio Frey– McMaster University
Arela Agako– MSc Student, McMaster University
Randi McCabe– McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada