A Clinical Trial of In-Home CBT for Depressed Mothers in Home Visitation




Robert T. Ammerman, Frank W. Putnam, Mekibib Altaye, Jack Stevens, Angelique R. Teeters, and Judith B. Van Ginkel

Brief Type

Journal publication


  • Healthy Families America (HFA)
  • Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP)


Despite negative outcomes for depressed mothers and their children, no treatment specifically designed to address maternal depression in the context of home visitation has emerged. In-Home Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (IH-CBT) is an adapted treatment that is delivered in the home, focuses on the needs of new mothers, and leverages ongoing home visiting to optimize engagement and outcomes. This study examined the efficacy of IH-CBT using a randomized clinical trial. Subjects were 93 new mothers in a home visiting program. Mothers with major depressive disorder identified at 3 months postpartum were randomized into IH-CBT and ongoing home visitation (n= 47) or standard home visitation (SHV; n= 46) in which they received home visitation alone and could obtain treatment in the community. Depression was measured at pre- and posttreatment, and 3-month follow-up using interviews, clinician ratings, and self-report. Mothers receiving IH-CBT showed improvements in all indicators of depression relative to the SHV condition and these gains were maintained at follow-up. For example, 70.7% of mothers receiving IH-CBT were no longer depressed at posttreatment in terms of meeting criteria for major depressive disorder compared to 30.2% in the SHV group. These findings suggest that IH-CBT is an efficacious treatment for depressed mothers in home visitation programs. (author abstract)

Data Collection Methods

  • Interviews
  • Standardized assessment tools
  • Surveys or questionnaires


For More Information

Ammerman, R. T., Putnam, F. W., Altaye, M., Stevens, J., Teeters, A. R., & Van Ginkel, J. B. (2013). A clinical trial of in-home CBT for depressed mothers in home visitation. Behavior Therapy, 44(3), 359-372. doi: 10.1016/j.beth.2013.01.002
Author Contact Information:
Robert T. Ammerman


  • Participant, Family, and Program Outcomes
  • Program Enhancements, Innovations, and Promising Approaches