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Type: Journal article
Title: Reducing postnatal depression, anxiety and stress using an infant sleep intervention
Author: Symon, B.
Bammann, M.
Crichton, G.
Lowings, C.
Tucsok, J.
Citation: BMJ: British Medical Journal, 2012; Online(5):1-6
Publisher: BMJ Group
Issue Date: 2012
ISSN: 1756-1833
Statement of
Brian Symon, Michael Bammann, Georgina Crichton, Chris Lowings, James Tucsok
Abstract: Objective: To examine the psychological well-being of mothers following participation in a behavioural modification programme previously shown to improve infant sleep. Design, setting and participants: A 45 min consultation with either a general practitioner (GP) or trained nurse providing verbal and written information describing sleep physiology in infants and strategies to improve infant sleep. Eighty mothers of infants 6−12 months of age with established infant sleep problems at a single general practice, Adelaide, South Australia. Main outcome measures: The Depression Anxiety Stress Scale 21 (DASS21) immediately prior to the first consultation and again at follow-up approximately 3 weeks later. The number of infant nocturnal awakenings requiring parental support was also reported by mothers on both occasions. Results: All measures of maternal well-being and infant nocturnal awakenings improved significantly. The mean number of maximum nocturnal awakenings decreased from 5.0 to 0.5 (mean difference 4.4, 95% CI 3.4 to 5.5). All measures of DASS21 improved significantly. The mean total DASS21 decreased from 29.1 to 14.9 (mean decrease 14.2, 95% CI 10.2 to 18.2); mean depression decreased from 7.9 to 2.8 (mean difference 5.2, 95% CI 3.7 to 6.7); mean anxiety decreased from 4.6 to 2.6 (mean difference 2.0, 95% CI 0.7 to 3.2); mean stress decreased from 16.6 to 9.5 (mean difference 7.0, 95% CI 5.1 to 9.0). The proportion of mothers assessed as having any degree of depression decreased by 85% from 26/80 (32.5%) to 4/80 (5%). Conclusions: The number of nocturnal awakenings requiring parental support among infants aged 6−12 months significantly decreased following a single consultation on infant sleep physiology and teaching behavioural strategies to improve sleep. Significant improvements in maternal stress, anxiety and depression were also observed.
Description: Extent: 6p.
Rights: This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial License, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non commercial and is otherwise in compliance with the license. See: and
DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2012-001662
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