Maternal Mental Health Research Collaborative
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Featured Study: Peer Administered Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Postpartum Depression

Name of study

Peer Administered Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Postpartum Depression (PPD)

Brief description of study

Even though PPD affects 20% of the population, less than 15% of women receive evidence-based care. This study, based in Brantford, Ontario, is currently recruiting 148 women to test peer-administered CBT for PPD. Researchers will evaluate whether moms who have previously suffered from PPD can be trained to deliver CBT to moms currently going through PPD.

According to Anxiety BC, CBT focuses on the way people think (cognitive) and act (behavioral). “The concept behind CBT is that our thoughts about a situation affect how we feel (emotionally and physically) and how we behave in that situation,” notes the Anxiety BC website. “As human beings, we give meaning to events that are happening around us. However, we often don’t realize that two people can give two very different meanings to the same event.”

Training moms or “lay peers” to deliver CBT and seeing if it works through this study is all being done in an effort to fill the gaps in care where therapists or trained personnel aren’t available to administer CBT. Researchers will use a number of different questionnaires to measure results including the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) and hope to complete the study by the end of 2019.

Why you might want to participate

You might want to participate in this study if you have postpartum depression and are finding it difficult to access therapy. Researchers will be training eight women with a past history of PPD on how to deliver CBT. Researchers will be using a group CBT intervention for PPD which proved successful for public health nurses with little background in psychiatry. After the moms with a past history of PPD receive the CBT training, the eight women will then deliver a nine-week group CBT treatment to 74 of the 148 participants of the study.

Depending on which of the three groups you are randomly placed in, you could be receiving CBT from a mom who has been through PPD before who is more than likely able to understand first-hand about many of the symptoms you are currently experiencing. Instead of being placed on a wait list for a therapist or paying out of your own pocket, participating in this study provides you with the chance of obtaining evidence-based CBT to help you in your recovery.

Type of study

Randomized Control Trial


Kids Can Fly, Brantford, Ontario

Trial sponsor

McMaster University

Participant criteria

  • Must be over the age of 18;
  • Must have had a baby within the last 12 months;
  • Must understand and speak English;
  • Must have an Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Score between 10-23;
  • Cannot have bipolar disorder, a current psychotic disorder, substance or alcohol use disorder, or antisocial or borderline personality disorder.

Through MMHRC’s partner Clara Health we’re bringing you clinical research opportunities that you can join, right now! Click here to find out more about this study and how Clara Health can help you enroll.

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