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Postpartum depression is common in the perinatal period and poses a risk for the development of the infant and the mother–infant relationship. Infancy is a critical developmental period of life and supportive parenting is crucial for healthy development, however, the effects of interventions aimed at improving parenting among mothers with depression are uncertain.
To assess the effects of parenting interventions on parent–child relationship and child development among mothers with depressive symptoms with 0–12-month-old infants.
We conducted a systematic review with the inclusion criteria: (a) randomised controlled trials of structured psychosocial parenting interventions for women with depressive symptoms and a child aged 0–12 months in Western Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries, (b) minimum three sessions with at least half of these delivered postnatally and (c) outcomes relating to the parent–child-relationship and/or child development. Publications were extracted from 10 databases in September 2018 and supplemented with grey search and hand search. We assessed risk of bias, calculated effect sizes and conducted meta-analysis.
Eight papers representing seven trials were included. We conducted meta-analysis on the post-intervention parent–child relationship. The analysis included six studies and showed no significant effect. For individual study outcomes, no significant effects on the majority of both the parent–child relationship and child development outcomes were reported.
No evidence of the effect of parenting interventions for mothers with depressive symptoms was found on the parent–child relationship and child development. Larger studies with follow-up assessments are needed, and future reviews should examine the effects in non-Western countries.
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