Promoting responsiveness between mothers with depressive symptoms and their infants

June Andrews Horowitz, Margaret Bell, Jo Ann Trybulski, Barbara Hazard Munro, Deborah Moser, Shelley A. Hartz, Lisa McCordic, Elyse Shirley Sokol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Purpose: To test the efficacy of an interactive coaching intervention to promote responsiveness between mothers experiencing postpartum depressive symptoms (PPDS) and their infants. Design: An experimental design with 117 postpartum women in the Northeastern United States. Methods: Participants were randomly assigned either to the treatment or control group. Both groups had home visits at 4-8 weeks, 10-14 weeks, and 14-18 weeks postpartum and mother-infant interaction was videotaped and coded for responsiveness. The treatment group also received a coached behavioral intervention designed to promote maternal-infant responsiveness. Measures included the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale, the Beck Depression Inventory-II, and the Dyadic Mutuality Code. Findings: The hypothesis, that the treatment group would show significantly higher maternal-infant responsiveness after the intervention, was supported. No effect of the intervention on depression scores was found. A significant increase in responsiveness and a significant decrease in depression scores occurred over time for both treatment and control groups. No interaction between group and time was detected. Conclusions: The study showed that a coaching strategy had a positive effect on maternal-infant interaction in this sample. Future research is needed to test coaching interventions in conjunction with other strategies targeted to promote maternal-infant responsiveness and to reduce PPDS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)323-329
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nursing Scholarship
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001


  • Behavioral-interactive coaching
  • Depressive symptoms
  • Maternal-infant interaction
  • Postpartum depression
  • Responsiveness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)


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