CONTACT: BECKY SOGLIN
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-6660; fax (319) 384-4638
Release: Sept. 24, 2001
UI researchers receive $1.9 million grant to study postpartum depression
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Having a baby can bring many joys, but postpartum depression
can also affect nearly 10 percent of mothers within the first year of giving
birth. University of Iowa researchers who study the problem have received
a five-year, $1.9 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health
to investigate how psychotherapy delivered in the community can help women
with the condition. The grant went into effect Sept. 1.
Postpartum depression is both underdiagnosed and undertreated, said Scott
Stuart, M.D., UI associate professor of psychiatry and psychology and one
of the study's principal investigators. He and co-investigator Michael O'Hara,
Ph.D., UI professor of psychology and associate dean of research and development
in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, have previously collaborated
on clinical research regarding depression during pregnancy and the postpartum.
Postpartum depression is similar to other depressions and includes symptoms
such as low mood, lack of energy, decreased sleep or appetite, loss of pleasure
in life, and low self-esteem. In severe cases, it can lead to thoughts of
"We found in our previous research that postpartum depression often
is not recognized by the women who experience it or by the people who see
the women for post-delivery follow-up treatment," Stuart said.
The study will focus on how effectively therapists in private practice can
deliver treatment to women with postpartum depression. The treatment has been
studied in an academic setting, where it worked well, Stuart said.
"Psychotherapy is a time-limited treatment that focuses on a woman's
transition into parenthood or into the postpartum period," Stuart said.
"The therapy focuses on the woman's relationships with her significant
other and child or children. It also helps each woman develop more social
If the researchers determine that the therapy can effectively be used in
the community, the next step will be to train more physicians, psychologists
and other mental health professionals to use the treatment in clinical settings
in the community, Stuart said.
University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between
the UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient
care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit
UI Health Care online at www.uihealthcare.com.