Listening Visits for maternal depression: a meta-analysis

Abstract

Listening Visits are a non-directive counseling intervention delivered by nurses to depressed postpartum women. In 2007, Listening Visits were listed as a recommended treatment in British national guidelines. They were removed from the guideline update, due to the small effect size drawn from a meta-analysis of five clinical trials with depressed and non-depressed postpartum women. The purpose of this meta-analysis is to provide an estimate of the true population effect of Listening Visits as a treatment for maternal depression compared to control conditions. A meta-analytic review was conducted of studies published before October 2020. Inclusion criteria required that the study was a pragmatic or randomized trial of Listening Visits delivered by non-mental health specialists to mothers with elevated symptoms of maternal depression. Post-treatment depression rates for the treatment and control groups were extracted from eligible studies. Six studies met eligibility criteria which included 703 participants. Analyses of observed effect sizes corrected for study artifacts revealed an estimate of 0.66 (95% CI: 0.32, 0.99) with high heterogeneity (Q = 17.95, p = 0.003, I2 = 72.14). After removing outliers and addressing heterogeneity across observed effect sizes, the meta-analytic estimate across four methodologically similar studies and 651 participants was 0.43 (95% CI: 0.24, 0.62). The moderate effect size for Listening Visits, considered together with the advantages afforded by how, where, and who provides this treatment, supports Listening Visits as a first-line intervention in a stepped care approach for mothers with mild to moderately severe depression symptoms.

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Acknowledgments

Data extraction and coding was completed by DeLaney Fisher, Rachel Heuel, Neevetha Sivagurunathan, and Rachel Thompson. The authors would like to acknowledge Francesca Scheiber's assistance in initial stages of the study, as well as colleagues who reviewed a draft and provided helpful comments: Drs. Kathleen Buckwalter, Pim Cuijpers, Christopher Groves, Graham Nelson, Sara Stasik-O’Brien, J. Austin Williamson, Julie Zerwic, and the College of Nursing editor, Dr. Diana Colgan.

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Correspondence to Lisa S. Segre.

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McCabe, J.E., Wickberg, B., Deberg, J. et al. Listening Visits for maternal depression: a meta-analysis. Arch Womens Ment Health (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00737-020-01101-4

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Keywords

  • Meta-analysis
  • Treatment
  • Listening Visits
  • Maternal depression
  • Nurses