Author(s): Scope A, Booth A, Sutcliffe P
AIM: This paper is a report of a systematic review that aimed to synthesize qualitative evidence relating to women's perceptions and experiences of group cognitive behaviour therapy and other group interventions for postnatal depression. BACKGROUND: Postnatal depression may occur in women following childbirth, resulting in a range of distressing symptoms such as sadness, fatigue, and feelings of inability to look after their baby. Women tend to prefer psychological interventions. However, access to individual psychological therapy is limited by cost, waiting times, and availability of therapists. DATA SOURCES: A comprehensive literature search was conducted in 17 major psychological, medical, health-related and health economics electronic bibliographic databases. DESIGN: A qualitative evidence synthesis was conducted using thematic synthesis. REVIEW METHODS: Databases were searched from 1966-January 2008. A total of 116 full papers were screened against the inclusion criteria. Included papers were quality assessed. The original review protocol was restricted to evidence on group cognitive behaviour therapy. However, due to the paucity of evidence, the inclusion criteria were broadened to include other group interventions. A thematic synthesis was undertaken of the data extracted from the included papers. RESULTS: Six studies were included. Specific benefits were that treatment enabled women to develop better relationships with their baby and understand postnatal depression. Negative aspects of treatment included difficulties in applying cognitive behavioural techniques, and unfavourable social comparisons with other group members. CONCLUSIONS: Women have contrasting perceptions and experiences of group treatment. This suggests that greater attention should be focused on identifying those most likely to benefit from these treatments in a group environment.