A Randomized Trial of Collaborative Care for Perinatal Depression in Socioeconomically Disadvantaged Women: The Impact of Comorbid Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Objective: The comorbidity of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with antenatal depression poses increased risks for postpartum depression and may delay or diminish response to evidence-based depression care. In a secondary analysis of an 18-month study of collaborative care for perinatal depression, the authors hypothesized that pregnant, depressed, socioeconomically disadvantaged women with comorbid PTSD would show more improvement in the MOMCare intervention providing Brief Interpersonal Psychotherapy and/or antidepressants, compared to intensive public health Maternity Support Services (MSS-Plus).

Methods: A multisite randomized controlled trial with blinded outcome assessment was conducted in the Seattle-King County Public Health System, July 2009–January 2014. Pregnant women were recruited who met criteria for a probable diagnosis of major depressive disorder (MDD) on the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 and/or dysthymia on the MINI-International Neuropsychiatric Interview (5.0.0). The primary outcome was depression severity at 3-, 6-, 12-and 18-month follow-ups; secondary outcomes included functional improvement, PTSD severity, depression response and remission, and quality of depression care.

Results: Sixty-five percent of the sample of 164 met criteria for probable comorbid PTSD. The treatment effect was significantly associated with PTSD status in a group-by-PTSD severity interaction, controlling for baseline depression severity (Wald χ21 = 4.52, P = .03). Over the 18-month follow-up, those with comorbid PTSD in MOMCare (n = 48), versus MSS-Plus (n = 58), showed greater improvement in depression severity (Wald χ21 = 8.51, P < .004), PTSD severity (Wald χ21 = 5.55, P < .02), and functioning (Wald χ21 = 4.40, P < .04); higher rates of depression response (Wald χ21 = 4.13, P < .04) and remission (Wald χ21 = 5.17, P < .02); and increased use of mental health services (Wald χ21 = 39.87, P < .0001) and antidepressant medication (Wald χ21 = 8.07, P < .005). Participants without comorbid PTSD in MOMCare (n = 33) and MSS-Plus (n = 25) showed equivalent improvement on these outcomes.

Conclusions: Collaborative depression care had a greater impact on perinatal depressive outcomes for socioeconomically disadvantaged women with comorbid PTSD than for those without PTSD. Findings suggest that a stepped care treatment model for high-risk pregnant women with both MDD and PTSD could be integrated into public health systems in the United States.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01045655

J Clin Psychiatry 2016;77(11):1527–1537

https://doi.org/10.4088/JCP.15m10477