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      Examining the Impact of Trauma-Informed Cognitive Behavioral Therapy on Perinatal Mental Health Outcomes Among Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence (The PATH Study): Protocol for a Feasibility Study

      , PhD, RN 1 , , MScN, RN 2 , , BScN, RN 1 , , PhD 3 ,
      (Reviewer), (Reviewer)
      JMIR Research Protocols
      JMIR Publications
      intimate partner violence, cognitive behavioral therapy, perinatal, mental health, women, nurse

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          Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a pervasive public health problem, impacting the health and quality of life of survivors worldwide. The trauma of IPV is associated with a high incidence of mental illness, namely depressive and anxiety disorders, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Moreover, literature endorses cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) interventions as a gold standard for those with symptomatology consistent with anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and PTSD. However, efficacy has not been evaluated among a population of pregnant survivors of IPV.


          We present the protocol that will be used to explore the efficacy of trauma-informed cognitive behavioral therapy on maternal and child health outcomes for pregnant women with PTSD, depression, or anxiety symptomatology resulting from IPV. A secondary aim will be to test the validity and feasibility of study methodology to support the successful implementation of a full-scale randomized controlled trial.


          The Promoting Attachment Through Healing (PATH) study will use a mixed-methods approach grounded in an intersectional feminist framework to explore the effectiveness of trauma-informed CBT for pregnant survivors of IPV. Study participants will be recruited through the hospital-based Perinatal Mental Health Clinic (London, Ontario, Canada). A feasibility sample of 20 pregnant women (cohort 1) will be selected to engage in an eight-session antenatal CBT intervention facilitated by the program’s perinatal clinical nurse specialist, with evaluation at baseline, at two months postpartum (intervention and online questionnaire), and at six and twelve months postpartum (online questionnaire only). Concurrently, we will conduct a retrospective audit of 100 medical charts (cohort 2; 50 charts of perinatal women who received CBT and 50 charts of women who did not receive perinatal CBT) from the past five years. The efficacy of the intervention will be based on a reduction of mental illness symptomatology, improved maternal-infant attachment, maternal coping, and maternal quality of life. Additionally, the feasibility of the protocol and acceptability of the intervention from the women’s perspective will be examined. Inductive content analysis of all qualitative data will be used to determine common themes. Additionally, descriptive statistics, including measures of central tendency and dispersion, will be computed for all continuous variables. Alternatively, frequency tables will be constructed for all categorical variables.


          The work reported here is in the proposal phase. Once the protocol is implemented, we will report the results in a follow-up paper. Participant recruitment for cohort 1 has started and we have finished data collection for cohort 2. It is anticipated that the results will be available by the end of 2018.


          Findings will assess the acceptability of the study methodology and protocol for a full-scale randomized controlled trial. Furthermore, if CBT is proven effective for pregnant survivors of IPV, this intervention could be readily adopted by health care and social support services, thereby contributing to an improved standard of care for this unique population.

          Trial Registration

          ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03536442; https://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03536442 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/6zeurv1ay)

          Registered Report Identifier


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          Most cited references33

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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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            Health consequences of intimate partner violence.

            Intimate partner violence, which describes physical or sexual assault, or both, of a spouse or sexual intimate, is a common health-care issue. In this article, I have reviewed research on the mental and physical health sequelae of such violence. Increased health problems such as injury, chronic pain, gastrointestinal, and gynaecological signs including sexually-transmitted diseases, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder are well documented by controlled research in abused women in various settings. Intimate partner violence has been noted in 3-13% of pregnancies in many studies from around the world, and is associated with detrimental outcomes to mothers and infants. I recommend increased assessment and interventions for intimate partner violence in health-care settings.
              • Record: found
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              • Article: not found


              Journal of Family Violence, 14(2), 99-132

                Author and article information

                JMIR Res Protoc
                JMIR Res Protoc
                JMIR Research Protocols
                JMIR Publications (Toronto, Canada )
                May 2018
                25 May 2018
                : 7
                : 5
                : e134
                [1] 1 Labatt School of Nursing Faculty of Health Sciences The University of Western Ontario London, ON Canada
                [2] 2 London Health Sciences Center London, ON Canada
                [3] 3 School of Health Studies Faculty of Health Sciences The University of Western Ontario London, ON Canada
                Author notes
                Corresponding Author: Tara Mantler tscott32@ 123456uwo.ca
                Author information
                ©Kimberley T Jackson, Sarah Parkinson, Brianna Jackson, Tara Mantler. Originally published in JMIR Research Protocols (http://www.researchprotocols.org), 25.05.2018.

                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.

                : 12 January 2018
                : 15 March 2018
                : 19 April 2018
                : 22 April 2018

                intimate partner violence,cognitive behavioral therapy,perinatal,mental health,women,nurse


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