Postnatal depression (PND) has negative effects on maternal well-being as well as implications for the mother-infant relationship, subsequent infant development, and family functioning.
There is growing evidence demonstrating that PND impacts on a mother's ability to interact with sensitivity and responsiveness as a caregiver, which may have implications for the infant's development of self-regulatory skills, making the infant more vulnerable to later psychopathology. Given the possible intergenerational transmission of risk to the infant, the mother-infant relationship is a focus for treatment and research.
However, few studies have assessed the effect of treatment on the mother-infant relationship and child developmental outcomes. The main aim of this paper was to conduct a systematic review and investigate effect sizes of interventions for PND, which assess the quality of the mother-infant dyad relationship and/or child outcomes in addition to maternal mood.
Nineteen studies were selected for review, and their methodological quality was evaluated, where possible, effect sizes across maternal mood, quality of dyadic relationship, and child developmental outcomes were calculated. Finally, clinical implications in the treatment of PND are highlighted and recommendations made for further research.
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