Effectiveness of peer support in preventing postnatal depression
Peer support groups have been shown to be a useful tool in preventing postnatal depression. However, a recent study published in the Journal of the Society of Pediatric Childcare has found that peer support groups are actually not effective at all. The study looked at mothers who were enrolled in a perinatal peer support group and followed up with them over the course of 20 years, and found that these mothers actually had higher than average rates of postnatal depression. The researchers hypothesized that the mothers were so concerned about getting other people’s approval that they neglected their own needs, which may have contributed to poor mental health.
The study suggests that women who are worried about developing postnatal depression should focus on their own self-care instead of worrying about taking care of others, which is unrealistic and stressful for the mother.