Thursday, July 22, 2004
This presentation is part of : Marginalization and People's Health
Prevention of Depression in Low-Income Single Mothers
Ann R. Peden, ARNP-CS, DSN, Lynne A. Hall, RN, DrPH, and Mary Kay Rayens, PhD. College of Nursing, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, USA
Learning Objective #1: Examine mental health variables that affect single mothers and their children
Learning Objective #2: Describe a cognitive-behavioral group intervention to decrease negative thinking

Objective: To test the effectiveness of a cognitive-behavioral group intervention in reducing negative thoughts, depressive symptoms, and chronic stressors, and enhancing self-esteem in low-income single mothers.

Design: A randomized controlled intervention trial with single mothers at risk for depression.

Sample, Setting: 136 low-income single mothers at least 18 years old participated in this community-based study. Inclusion criteria included not currently under psychiatric care, at least one child 2 to 6 years old in the home, and high depressive symptoms (Center for Epidemiologic Studies - Depression score > 15 and/or Beck Depression Inventory score > 9).

Intervention and Outcome Variables: The intervention consists of six one-hour or four 90-minute group sessions that target identification of negative thinking as it affects feelings and depressive behaviors. Thought stopping and affirmations are taught. Outcomes included self-esteem, chronic stressors, depressive symptoms, and negative thinking.

Methods: Women were randomly assigned to either control (n = 74) or intervention (n = 62) group. Data were collected via self-report during in-home interviews at baseline and 1- and 6-months post intervention. Repeated measures analysis of variance was used to test for group and time differences.

Findings: Compared to control subjects, women assigned to the experimental group had a greater decrease in chronic stressors, depressive symptoms and negative thinking; these effects were maintained over a 6-month period. While there was not a group effect for self-esteem, both groups showed an increase in this outcome over time.

Conclusions: The findings document the effectiveness of this intervention and provide empirical support for the beneficial effects of reducing negative thinking on motherís mental health.

Implications: Interventions designed to reduce negative thinking in low-income single mothers may be the key to decreasing high depressive symptoms and increasing self-esteem in this high risk group.

Funded by Grant #R01 NR0506-01, NINR/.NIH, April 1, 2000-March 30, 2004

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