A cognitive—behavioral intervention for postpartum anxiety and depression: Individual phone vs. group format

Meital Simhi, Orly Sarid, Heather Rowe, Jane Fisher, Julie Cwikel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Cognitive–behavioral interventions can effectively treat symptoms of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs). We assessed the acceptability and effectiveness of a workbook-based intervention (What Am I Worried About? (WAWA)) comprising of cognitive–behavioral and mindfulness techniques and weekly professional guidance to address symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress among postpartum mothers. We compared the efficacy of group versus individual telephone consultation using a pre-and post-test single group, open trial, research design in replication pilot study. A convenience sample of community-residing postpartum women (n = 34) chose between group intervention (n = 24) or individual phone consultation with a mental health professional (n = 10). Outcome measures were anxiety (GAD-7), depression, anxiety, and stress (DASS21), and postpartum depression (PPD-EPDS). After four weeks intervention, significant reductions were observed in postpartum depression, anxiety, and stress scales. Cohen’s d statistics showed medium effect sizes (0.35–0.56). A small but significantly larger change in PPD-EPDS and DASS stress scores was reported among participants who opted for the phone intervention compared to those in the group intervention. Most participants felt that the intervention was highly beneficial and would recommend it to other postpartum women. In conclusion, the WAWA intervention showed efficacy for reducing postpartum anxiety, distress, and depressive symptoms among postpartum women, with a slightly greater reduction in PPD-EPDS and stress symptoms found among those who opted for individual phone consultation. Definitive evaluation of the intervention requires a larger sample and a RCT research design with two treatment arms: telephone and group intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5952
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number24
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2021


  • Cognitive–behavioral intervention
  • Group intervention
  • Mindfulness
  • Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs)
  • Telephone consultation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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