Psychol Rep. 2015 Dec;117(3):856-82. doi: 10.2466/02.13.PR0.117c29z3. Epub 2015 Nov 23.

Blasio PD1, Camisasca E2, Caravita SC1, Ionio C1, Milani L1, Valtolina GG1.

This study investigated whether an Expressive Writing intervention decreased depression and posttraumatic stress symptoms after childbirth. 113 women (M age = 31.26 yr., SD = 4.42) were assessed at Time 1 for depression (Beck Depression Inventory) and PTS (Perinatal PTSD Questionnaire) in the first days after childbirth, then randomized to either expressive writing or neutral writing conditions and reassessed at Time 2, 3 months later. The results (ANCOVAs, regression models) show that at 3 mo. depressive and posttraumatic symptoms were lower in women who performed the expressive writing task than in the neutral writing group. Moreover, the intervention condition was associated significantly with decreased depression at the high and at the mean levels of baseline depression at Time 1. Regarding PTSD, the results showed that the intervention condition was linked significantly to reductions of the symptoms at all levels of baseline PTSD. Mainly, these outcomes suggest that Expressive Writing can be a helpful early and low-cost universal intervention to prevent postpartum distress for women.

Emotional Distress Following Childbirth: An Intervention to Buffer Depressive and PTSD Symptoms.

Eur J Psychol. 2015 May 29;11(2):214-32. doi: 10.5964/ejop.v11i2.779. eCollection 2015 May.

Di Blasio P1, Miragoli S1, Camisasca E2, Di Vita AM3, Pizzo R4, Pipitone L4.

Childbirth for some women is a negative experience associated with depressive and post-traumatic symptoms. The preventive actions focusing on helping mothers to cope with negative emotions experienced after childbirth are strongly recommended. It is also recommended both to intervene early and on all women to avoid the risk that these symptoms can worsen in the months after childbirth. The intervention described in the current study is focalized on the elaboration of post-partum negative thoughts and emotion through a writing task, with the purpose to help new mothers to reflect, understand, evaluate and, thus, reformulate the stressful situation with new beliefs and emotions. 176 women aged from 19 to 43 years (M = 31.55, SD = 4.58) were assessed for depression and PTSD in the prenatal phase (T1). In about 96 hours after childbirth they were randomly assigned to either “Making Sense condition” (MS: in which they wrote about the thoughts and emotions connected with delivery and childbirth) or “Control-Neutral condition” (NC: in which they wrote about the daily events in behavioural terms) and then reassessed for depression and PTSD (T2). A follow up was conducted 3 months later (T3) to verify depression and posttraumatic symptoms. The results showed that depressive symptoms decreased both at 96 hours and at 3 months as a result of making-sense task. Regarding the posttraumatic symptoms the positive effect emerged at three months and not at 96 hours after birth.