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Int J Nurs Stud. 2015 Jan;52(1):22-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2014.06.006. Epub 2014 Jun 19.

Effects of an interpersonal-psychotherapy-oriented postnatal programme for Chinese first-time mothers: a randomized controlled trial.

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School of Nursing, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China. Electronic address:
School of Nursing, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China. Electronic address:
School of Nursing, Zheng-zhou University, Zheng-zhou, Henan Province, China. Electronic address:
School of Nursing & Midwifery at University of Newcastle, Australia. Electronic address:



This study aimed to investigate the effects of an interpersonal-psychotherapy-oriented postnatal psychoeducation programme on postpartum depressive symptoms, social support and maternal role competence in Chinese first-time mothers.


A randomized, controlled trial was conducted in the postnatal unit of a regional hospital in China. The intervention consisted of a 1-h education session before discharge and one telephone follow-up within the 2 weeks after discharge from the hospital. One hundred and eighty first-time Chinese mothers were randomly assigned to the study group (n=90) or the control group (n=90). Outcomes of the study included symptoms of postpartum depression, social support and maternal role competence which were measured by the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale, the Perceived Social Support Scale and the Parenting Sense of Competence Scale-Efficacy subscale, respectively.


Women receiving the postnatal psychoeducation programme had significantly fewer depressive symptoms (Mean [SD]=7.61 [3.43] versus 8.96 [4.55]; t=-2.24; p=0.026), higher level of social support (Mean [SD]=65.44 [8.43] versus 61.82 [9.99]; t=2.63; p=0.009) and better maternal role competence (Mean [SD]=35.87 [4.41] versus 32.79 [6.86]; t=3.59; p<0.001) at 6 weeks postpartum as compared with those who received routine postnatal care.


An interpersonal-psychotherapy-oriented postnatal psychoeducation programme may have the potential to facilitate the Chinese first-time mothers' transition to motherhood. A larger trial is needed to test for therapist effects, a full economic evaluation, and whether the intervention is acceptable to staff and feasible to use in current practice.


First-time mothers; Interpersonal psychotherapy; Postnatal care; Randomized controlled trial

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