RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL OF PARENT-INFANT PSYCHOTHERAPY FOR PARENTS WITH MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS AND YOUNG INFANTS.Infant Ment Health J. 2016 Mar-Apr; 37(2):97-114.IM
There is a dearth of good-quality research investigating the outcomes of psychoanalytic parent-infant psychotherapy (PIP). This randomized controlled trial investigated the outcomes of PIP for parents with mental health problems who also were experiencing high levels of social adversity and their young infants (<12 months). Dyads were clinically referred and randomly allocated to PIP or a control condition of standard secondary and specialist primary care treatment (n = 38 in each group). Outcomes were assessed at baseline and at 6-month and 12-month follow-ups. The primary outcome was infant development. Secondary outcomes included parent-infant interaction, maternal psychopathology, maternal representations, maternal reflective functioning, and infant attachment. There were no differential effects over time between the groups on measures of infant development, parent-infant interaction, or maternal reflective functioning. Infant attachment classifications, measured only at the 12-month follow-up, did not differ between the groups. There were favorable outcomes over time for the PIP-treated dyads relative to the control group on several measures of maternal mental health, parenting stress, and parental representations of the baby and their relationship. The findings indicate potential benefits of parent-infant psychotherapy for improving mothers' psychological well-being and their representations of their baby and the parent-infant relationship.