Resilience-enhancing interventions for antepartum depressive symptoms: systematic review

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BACKGROUND: Antepartum depressive symptoms (ADS) are highly prevalent and may affect the mother and child. Cognitive-behavioural therapy and interpersonal therapy are effective psychological interventions for depression. However, low adherence and high attrition rates in studies of prevention and treatment of antepartum depression suggest that these approaches might not be entirely suitable for women with mild/moderate ADS. Considering the protective association between resilience and ADS, women with ADS might benefit more from interventions focusing on promotion of mental well-being and resilience.

AIMS: We aimed to provide an overview of studies evaluating the effectiveness of antepartum resilience-enhancing interventions targeting the improvement of ante- and postpartum depressive symptoms. We also investigated whether these interventions improve resilience and resilience factors in the peripartum period.

METHOD: We conducted a systematic review, using PRISMA guidelines. Studies were eligible for inclusion when they utilised a randomised controlled trial or quasi-experimental design, studied pregnant women with ADS, and implemented psychological interventions that (a) aimed to reduce maternal ADS and/or prevent peripartum major depression, and (b) addressed one or more psychological resilience factors.

RESULTS: Five of the six included cognitive-behavioural therapy interventions and all four mindfulness-based interventions were effective in reducing peripartum depressive symptoms and/or the incidence of depression. However, the methodological quality of most of the included studies was low to moderate. Only three studies assessed change in resilience factors.

CONCLUSIONS: Resilience-enhancing interventions might be beneficial for mental well-being of pregnant women with ADS, although more rigorously designed intervention studies are needed.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere89
Pages (from-to)e89
JournalBJPsych Open
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 6 May 2022


  • Psychosocial interventions
  • antepartum depressive symptoms
  • depressive disorders
  • perinatal psychiatry
  • resilience

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