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Interest in web-based treatments for postpartum anxiety: an exploratory survey

Ashford, M., Ayers, S. & Olander, E. K. (2017). Interest in web-based treatments for postpartum anxiety: an exploratory survey. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology, 35(4), pp. 394-409. doi: 10.1080/02646838.2017.1320364


Objective: This study aimed to explore women’s interest in web-based treatments for postpartum anxiety and determine the feasibility of reaching women with postpartum anxiety online.

Background: Anxiety in the postpartum period is common and often untreated. One innovative approach of offering treatment during this period is through web-based self-help. Assessing women’s interest in new treatments, such as a web-based self-help, is an important step prior to development efforts.

Methods: A cross-sectional online survey was created and promoted for 4 months via unpaid social media posts (Facebook and Twitter). To be eligible, women had to be over the age of 18, live in England, fluent in English, be within 12 months postpartum and self-report at least mild levels of anxiety.

Results: A sample of 114 eligible women were recruited. The majority were Caucasian, well-educated, middle-class women. Seventy percent reported moderate or severe anxiety. Sixty-one percent of women expressed interest in web-based postpartum anxiety treatments. Women preferred treatment in a smartphone/tablet application format, presented in brief modules and supported by a therapist via email or chat/instant messaging.

Conclusions: Based on the stated preferences of participating women it is recommended that postpartum anxiety web-based treatments include different forms of therapist support and use a flexibly accessible smartphone/tablet application format with content split into short sections. The findings also suggest that unpaid social media can be feasible in reaching women with postpartum anxiety, but additional efforts are needed to reach a more diverse population.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology on 02/05/2017, available online:
Publisher Keywords: Internet, recruitment, postpartum anxiety, self-help, survey
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RG Gynecology and obstetrics
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Midwifery & Radiography
SWORD Depositor:
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