ISSN: 2376-127X

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Computerized Behavioral Activation Treatment for Maternal Depression Delivered in an Obstetric Clinic: A Case Study

Julia Huston, Jennifer Kuhn, Chelsea Sage-Germain and Amy Damashek

Purpose Depression affects a significant number of pregnant and postpartum mothers, especially low-income women. The presence of depressive symptoms during and immediately after pregnancy has been found to negatively affect both mothers and their children. Effective and accessible psychosocial treatment alternatives to antidepressant medications are needed to accommodate patient preferences and avoid potential risks to infant development. However, low-income depressed mothers face many barriers to accessing care. Computer-based treatment delivered in obstetric clinics may bypass some of these barriers and allow depressed pregnant and postpartum mothers greater access to effective treatment. Methods Presented is the clinical case of a low-income 22-year-old pregnant woman experiencing depressive symptoms. The patient successfully completed a 10-session computerized behavioral activation treatment program that was delivered in her obstetric clinic. Results Clinical outcomes revealed a decrease in depressive symptoms and an increase in quality of life. These gains were present at the end of treatment and were maintained at the three-month follow-up. Additionally, the patient responded positively to the treatment program and reported a high level of satisfaction. Conclusion These results suggest that computerized treatments delivered in familiar medical settings could accommodate patient preferences, remove some barriers to care, and allow for a streamlined referral process from physicians to mental health care providers, thus improving the accessibility of treatment for low-income mothers suffering from depression.