Evaluating Interventions to Reduce Maternal Depression and Improve Child Outcomes: A Review of Literature

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The Ohio State University

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Children of mothers with depression are at a higher risk for emotion and behavior problems. However, the literature is unclear how to intervene. Therefore, this literature review aims to identify appropriate intervention to promote emotional wellbeing and positive behaviors. The online databases utilized were PubMed and CINHAL. Key phrases included "((maternal depression) AND (child behavior)) AND (internalizing)", "((maternal depression) AND (early childhood)) AND (psychopathology)", "((maternal depression) AND (internalizing symptoms)) AND (children)". Five intervention articles that met criteria were selected for review. Of the five randomized controlled trials reviewed, one study utilized video to deliver intervention, one study used brief video and in-person counseling, one applied motivational interviewing, one used psychotherapy, and one applied cognitive behavioral therapy. Of five studies, only two studies specified length of intervention: ten weeks and fourteen weeks. All five studies focused on low-income mothers with major depression. Four intervention studies showed maternal depression alleviation. Only two studies reported improvement of child's emotion control outcomes. Three studies either could not determine due to inappropriate analysis or did not detect significant differences in child outcomes. There were different types of interventions used. Although interventions improved maternal depressive symptoms, the positive finding did not improve child emotion outcomes.



Maternal depression, child psychopathology, internalizing symptoms