Preliminary Effectiveness of Group Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Young Kenyan Mothers With HIV and Depression: A Pilot Trial

Obadia Yator, Grace John-Stewart, Lincoln Khasakhala, Manasi Kumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: The authors adopted a task-sharing strategy in which lay health workers delivered group interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT-G) in primary care clinics in Nairobi, Kenya, to young mothers with HIV and depression. The study examined the acceptability, feasibility, and effectiveness of IPT-G in improving depression and antiretroviral therapy adherence. METHODS: Twenty-four mothers (ages 18-24 years and 6-12 weeks postpartum) participated. The women were randomly assigned to IPT-G or to a waitlist. Eight lay providers administered the IPT-G sessions across 8 weeks. The primary outcome was pre- to postintervention change in depression scores as measured on the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. The secondary outcome was antiretroviral therapy adherence. All waitlist participants subsequently received the intervention, and a secondary outcome, within-group analysis, was conducted and included those participants. RESULTS: Participants' median age was 23.0 years, 17 (71%) lived with a partner, and 19 (79%) had fewer than two children. The intervention group had a mean±SD depression score of 15.9±4.3 at baseline and 6.8±7.0 postintervention. For the waitlist control group, the mean score was 17.3±5.9 at baseline and 13.2±6.6 at the first follow-up. Waitlist participants had significantly greater mean depression scores than did intervention group participants at the first follow-up (after the intervention group's 8-week IPT-G) (β=6.42, 95% confidence interval=1.17 to 11.66, p=0.017). No difference was observed between groups in antiretroviral therapy adherence. CONCLUSIONS: This study provides preliminary evidence that IPT-G led by community health workers may have benefits for postpartum depression among young mothers with HIV.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-96
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychotherapy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Group Interpersonal Psychotherapy
  • Postpartum depression
  • adolescents
  • treatment adherence
  • young mothers


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