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Computer- or web-based interventions for perinatal mental health: A systematic review

Ashford, M., Olander, E. K. & Ayers, S. (2016). Computer- or web-based interventions for perinatal mental health: A systematic review. Journal of Affective Disorders, 197(June), pp. 134-146. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2016.02.057


Treating prenatal mental health issues is of great importance, but access to treatment is often poor. One way of accessing treatment is through computer- or web-based interventions. Reviews have shown that these interventions can be effective for a variety of mental health disorder across different populations. However, their effectiveness for women in the perinatal period has not been reviewed. This review therefore aimed to provide a first overview of computer- or web-based interventions for women's perinatal mental health issues by systematically identifying and reviewing their characteristics and efficacy.

Methods: Twelve electronic databases were searched for published and unpublished literature using keywords, supplemented by hand searches. Data were extracted for characteristics of the intervention and the study, study findings and the methodological quality was assessed.

Results: The majority of the eleven eligible studies were randomized controlled trials. Interventions were targeted at depression, stress, and complicated grief during the antenatal or postpartum period or the time after pregnancy loss. Findings suggest that computer- or web-based interventions targeted at improving mental health, especially depression and complicated grief, may be effective.

Limitations: Findings and their generalizability is limited by the heterogeneity of reviewed interventions and study designs, as well as methodological limitations.

Conclusions: This systematic review constitutes the first synthesis of research on computer- or web-based interventions for perinatal mental health issues and provides preliminary support that this could be a promising form of treatment during this period. However, there are significant gaps in the current evidence-base so further research is needed.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2016 Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
Subjects: R Medicine
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences
SWORD Depositor:
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