Young mothers have higher rates of mental health problems, yet can be difficult to engage in care. Few interventions exist targeting the full range of mental health problems these women face. While transdiagnostic psychotherapies have been utilized in adolescent groups, they have not been tested in young mothers.
Our objective was to examine the feasibility and acceptability of a public health nurse-delivered transdiagnostic CBT-based resilience curriculum for young mothers in a supported school setting, and to determine preliminary estimates of the program’s effects.
56 mothers, 21 years of age or younger were recruited from a supported high school program in Canada. Using a pretest/post-test design with no control group, measures of maternal depression, anxiety, emotion regulation, and offspring behaviour were collected immediately before and after the completion of the weekly 10-session intervention.
The intervention was feasible and acceptable to young mothers. While few statistically significant changes were noted in the complete sample, for those with moderate-severe depression at baseline, program participation resulted in clinically meaningful improvements in depression, anxiety, and emotion regulation.
Provision of a transdiagnostic CBT-based resilience-building program delivered by public health nurses in a supported school setting was both feasible and well-tolerated. Given the preliminary nature of this study, its clinical utility is unclear, though it may have benefits for young mothers with more significant mental health problems at baseline.