Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) for major depression following perinatal loss: a pilot randomized controlled trial

Jennifer E. Johnson, Ann Back Price, Jennifer Chienwen Kao, Karen Fernandes, Robert Stout, Robyn L. Gobin, Caron Zlotnick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This randomized controlled pilot trial examined the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary efficacy of an adapted interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) for major depressive disorder (MDD) following perinatal loss (miscarriage, stillbirth, or early neonatal death). Fifty women who experienced a perinatal loss within the past 18 months, whose current depressive episode onset occurred during or after the loss, were randomized to the group IPT adapted for perinatal loss (the Group IPT for Major Depression Following Perinatal Loss manual developed for this study is available at no cost by contacting either of the first two authors) or to the group Coping with Depression (CWD), a cognitive behavioral treatment which did not focus on perinatal loss nor social support. Assessments occurred at baseline, treatment weeks 4 and 8, post-treatment, and 3 and 6 months after the end of treatment. IPT was feasible and acceptable in this population. Although some participants were initially hesitant to discuss their losses in a group (as occurred in IPT but not CWD), end of treatment satisfaction scores were significantly (p = 0.001) higher in IPT than in CWD. Confidence intervals around between-groups effect sizes favored IPT for reductions in depressive symptoms during treatment as well as for improvement in mode-specific targets (social support, grief symptoms) and recovery from a post-traumatic stress disorder over follow-up. This group IPT treatment adapted for MDD after perinatal loss is feasible, acceptable, and possibly efficacious.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)845-859
Number of pages15
JournalArchives of Women's Mental Health
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Depression
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Perinatal death
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Spontaneous abortion
  • Stillbirth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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