Effectiveness of a psycho-educational intervention for expecting parents to prevent postpartum parenting stress, depression and anxiety: a randomized controlled trial

M.A. Missler*, A. van Straten, J.J.A. Denissen, T. Donker, Roseriet Beijers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Background: The first months postpartum can be challenging for parents, leading to elevated symptoms of parenting stress, depression and anxiety. In turn, distressed parents are at higher risk for providing suboptimal quality of caregiving. As psychoeducational interventions can be effective in reducing psychological distress, the goal of this randomized controlled trial was to examine the effectiveness of low-intensity universal psychoeducational program to prevent postpartum parenting stress, and to enhance parental well-being and caregiving quality. Method: Between 26 and 34 weeks of pregnancy, 138 pregnant women and 96 partners were randomized to the intervention or a waitlist control group. The intervention consisted of a booklet, a video, a home visit, and a telephone call. Information was provided on (1) sensitive responsiveness, adapting to the parental role, and attending to own needs; (2) crying patterns; (3) feeding (arrangements); and (4) sleeping (arrangements). The primary outcome was parenting stress postpartum. Secondary outcomes were additional measures of distress (depression and anxiety), parental well-being, and caregiving quality. Results: Both groups showed a rise in distress after birth. No between-group differences were observed on parenting stress, nor on the secondary outcomes. The intervention was rated as useful and of added value by the parents. Conclusion: This study offered no evidence that our universal prevention program was effective in decreasing parental distress or in increasing caregiving quality. However, parents found aspects of the intervention useful. More research is needed, including a longer period of follow-up as well as observational measures of parents’ responsiveness. Trial registration: This trial has been registered on 15 September 2016 in the Netherlands National Trial Register, ID: NTR6065, https://www.trialregister.nl/trial/5782.

Original languageEnglish
Article number658
Number of pages18
JournalBMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • Parenting stress
  • Pregnancy
  • Psycho-education
  • Randomized controlled trial
  • Universal prevention program

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Effectiveness of a psycho-educational intervention for expecting parents to prevent postpartum parenting stress, depression and anxiety: a randomized controlled trial'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this