Maternal Depression | Healthy Moms-Healthy Kids: Reducing Maternal Depression for Better Outcomes in Head Start Children

Maternal Depression research study

What is the primary objective of this study?

Maternal depression is a pervasive problem that disproportionately affects low-income mothers. The effects of depression on mothers and their parenting result in many negative outcomes for children, particularly in terms of school readiness. The proposed research will build on a successful partnership between the University of Southern California School of Social Work (USC) and Children's Institute, Inc. (CII) to implement and evaluate an evidence-based intervention, interpersonal psychotherapy for group (IPT-G), for Head Start mothers with depression or dysphoric mood with the goal of reducing their depression and promoting positive changes for both mothers and children. The objectives of the study are: (1) adapt IPT-G for a Head Start population of mothers with depression; (2) implement IPT-G via a randomized controlled trial in Head Start centers in Los Angeles County operated by CII; (3) evaluate the effects of the intervention on maternal depression, parenting behaviors, goal-directed behavior, interpersonal relationships, physical health, and child behavior and school readiness; and (4) develop a manual for use of the intervention in Head Start and disseminate findings nationally. The study will feature 2 groups of 60 mothers each, randomized by Head Start site; one will receive the intervention and the other services as usual. Outcomes for both mothers and children will be tracked for 2 years after the intervention, allowing for the evaluation of short- and long-term effects. The intervention will be delivered by Head Start mental health workers under the supervision of Scott Stuart, a national trainer of the intervention. This intervention has the potential to be a low-cost, high-impact intervention that can be replicated to other Head Start sites across the country to improve the lives of Head Start children and families.

Who is eligible to participate?

Inclusion Criteria: - Mothers of children in Head Start with scores on screening measure that are in depressed or possibly depressed range to be assigned to intervention or TAU. Also will have additional control group of non depressed mothers Exclusion Criteria: - Not able to function in group environment

Which medical condition, disease, disorder, syndrome, illness, or injury is researched?

Maternal Depression

Parenting Behavior


Interpersonal Relationships

Goal Directed Behavior

Child Behavior

Child School Readiness

Study Interventions

Interventions can include giving participants drugs, medical devices, procedures, vaccines, and other products that are either investigational or already available or noninvasive approaches such as surveys, education, and interviews.

Behavioral:Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Depression -Group

Study Arms

Research studies and clinical trials typically have two or more research arms. An arm is a group of people who receive the same treatment in the study.

InterventionSubjects screen positive for depression and are offered a group Therapy intervention for depression: Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Depression Group.

ControlSubjects screen positive for depression and are offered Treatment as usual: External referral.

comparisonSubjects screen negative for depression: no referral or intervention.

Study Status

Unknown status

Start Date: September 2014

Completed Date: September 2018

Phase: N/A

Type: Interventional


Primary Outcome: Beck Depression Inventory

Secondary Outcome:

Study sponsors, principal investigator, and references

Principal Investigator:

Lead Sponsor: University of Southern California


More information:

Discuss Depression