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      Comparing the Effectiveness of Clinicians and Paraprofessionals to Reduce Disparities in Perinatal Depression via the Mothers and Babies Course: Protocol for a Cluster-Randomized Controlled Trial


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          Postpartum depression is highly prevalent in low-income women and has significant health and mental health effects on mother and child. Home visiting (HV) programs provide services to large numbers of perinatal women in the United States and are a logical setting for delivering mental health services. Although there are interventions that reduce the risk of developing postpartum depression among low-income women, none have used nonhealth or nonmental health professionals as interventionists.


          This study aimed to outline the protocol of a cluster randomized trial funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute that evaluates whether the Mothers and Babies (MB) group intervention, when led by paraprofessional home visitors, is more efficacious than usual care. It will also examine if MB, when led by home visitors, is not inferior to MB delivered by mental health professionals (MHPs). MB has previously demonstrated efficacy when delivered by MHPs, and pilot work indicated promising results using home visitors to deliver the intervention.


          A cluster randomized trial is being conducted with 38 HV programs. Sixteen HV programs will deliver MB using MHPs, 16 will deliver MB using paraprofessional home visitors, and 6 will deliver usual HV services. The study employs a modified covariate-constrained randomization design at the site level. We anticipate recruiting 933 women aged ≥16 years enrolled in HV programs, who are 33 or more weeks’ gestation and speak either English or Spanish. Women in the 2 intervention arms will receive the 6-session MB group intervention. Baseline, postintervention, 12-week postpartum, and 24-week postpartum assessments will be conducted to assess client outcomes. The primary outcome will be the change in Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology Self-Report 16 scores from baseline to 24-week follow-up. Secondary outcomes associated with core MB content will also be examined. Semistructured interviews will be conducted with home visitors and MHPs who are group facilitators and 90 study participants to gain data on intervention successes and challenges. Analyses will proceed at the participant level. Primary analyses for depressive symptoms score at 24 weeks postpartum will involve a linear mixed model, controlling for baseline symptoms and other covariates, and random effects to account for clustering.


          We have recruited 838 women through the end of August 2018. Recruitment will be completed at the end of September 2018.


          There is considerable potential to disseminate MB to HV programs throughout the United States. Should our results demonstrate home visitor efficacy when compared with usual care and/ noninferiority between home visitors and MHPs in improving mental health outcomes, no additional financial resources would be required for the existing HV staff to implement MB. Should this study determine that home visitors are less effective than MHPs, we will generate more wide-scale evidence on MB effectiveness when led by MHPs.

          Trial Registration

          ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02979444; https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02979444 (Archived by Webcite at http://www.webcitation.org/archive.php)

          International Registered Report Identifier (IRRID)


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          Most cited references26

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          Detection of postnatal depression. Development of the 10-item Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale.

          The development of a 10-item self-report scale (EPDS) to screen for Postnatal Depression in the community is described. After extensive pilot interviews a validation study was carried out on 84 mothers using the Research Diagnostic Criteria for depressive illness obtained from Goldberg's Standardised Psychiatric Interview. The EPDS was found to have satisfactory sensitivity and specificity, and was also sensitive to change in the severity of depression over time. The scale can be completed in about 5 minutes and has a simple method of scoring. The use of the EPDS in the secondary prevention of Postnatal Depression is discussed.
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            New Well-being Measures: Short Scales to Assess Flourishing and Positive and Negative Feelings

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              The MOS social support survey.

              This paper describes the development and evaluation of a brief, multidimensional, self-administered, social support survey that was developed for patients in the Medical Outcomes Study (MOS), a two-year study of patients with chronic conditions. This survey was designed to be comprehensive in terms of recent thinking about the various dimensions of social support. In addition, it was designed to be distinct from other related measures. We present a summary of the major conceptual issues considered when choosing items for the social support battery, describe the items, and present findings based on data from 2987 patients (ages 18 and older). Multitrait scaling analyses supported the dimensionality of four functional support scales (emotional/informational, tangible, affectionate, and positive social interaction) and the construction of an overall functional social support index. These support measures are distinct from structural measures of social support and from related health measures. They are reliable (all Alphas greater than 0.91), and are fairly stable over time. Selected construct validity hypotheses were supported.

                Author and article information

                JMIR Res Protoc
                JMIR Res Protoc
                JMIR Research Protocols
                JMIR Publications (Toronto, Canada )
                November 2018
                20 November 2018
                : 7
                : 11
                : e11624
                [1 ] Center for Community Health, Institute for Public Health and Medicine Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine Chicago, IL United States
                [2 ] Department of Preventive Medicine Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine Chicago, IL United States
                Author notes
                Corresponding Author: Jessica K Jensen jessica.jensen@ 123456northwestern.edu
                Author information
                ©Jessica K Jensen, Jody D Ciolino, Alicia Diebold, Melissa Segovia, Aria Degillio, Jesus Solano-Martinez, S Darius Tandon. Originally published in JMIR Research Protocols (http://www.researchprotocols.org), 20.11.2018.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in JMIR Research Protocols, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on http://www.researchprotocols.org.as well as this copyright and license information must be included.

                : 20 July 2018
                : 29 August 2018
                : 12 September 2018
                : 12 September 2018

                depression,postpartum,pregnancy,randomized controlled trial,community health


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