Evaluation of an Augmented Cognitive Behavioural Group Therapy for Perinatal Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) during the COVID-19 Pandemic Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • The perinatal period is considered a window of vulnerability given the increased risk of psychiatric difficulties during this time, such as mood and anxiety disorders (ADs). Pre-pandemic rates of ADs in perinatal women were one in five but have since increased with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic (COVID). In addition, recent research suggests that the focus of worry has shifted during the pandemic, with perinatal women reporting significantly more COVID-specific worries. The objective of this study was to augment our current evidence-based Cognitive Behavioural Group Therapy (CBGT) for perinatal anxiety protocol by targeting intolerance of uncertainty and tailoring existing strategies to address COVID-related worry and impact. Pregnant (n = 19) and postpartum (n = 49) women were recruited from regular clinic patient flow from a university-affiliated teaching hospital between September 2020 and March 2021. Improvements in generalized anxiety symptoms, worry, intolerance of uncertainty, and mood were observed at post-treatment, maintained at 3-months, and the intervention received high ratings of treatment satisfaction. This is the first study to examine an augmented CBGT for perinatal women with GAD during the pandemic and supports the inclusion of strategies that target intolerance of uncertainty as well as specific pandemic and perinatal worry content for effective outcomes.

publication date

  • December 31, 2021