Video-Delivered Family Therapy for Home Visited Young Mothers With Perinatal Depressive Symptoms: Quasi-Experimental Implementation-Effectiveness Hybrid Trial




Fallon Cluxton-Keller, Melony Williams, Jennifer Buteau, Craig L. Donnelly, Patricia Stolte, Maggie Monroe-Cassel, and Martha L. Bruce.

Brief Type

Journal Publication


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Background: The Federal Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program is a national child abuse prevention strategy that serves families at risk for child maltreatment throughout the United States. Significant portions of the clients are young mothers who screen positive for clinically significant perinatal depressive symptoms and experience relational discord that worsens their symptoms. Although home visitors refer those who screen positive for depression to community-based treatment, they infrequently obtain treatment because of multiple barriers. These barriers are compounded for home visited families in rural areas.
Objective: This pilot study aimed to explore the feasibility, acceptability, and effectiveness of a video-delivered family therapy intervention on reducing maternal depressive symptoms and improving family functioning and emotion regulation. Methods: A total of 13 home visited families received the video-delivered family therapy intervention. This study included a historical comparison group of mothers (N=13) who were previously enrolled in home visiting and screened positive for clinically significant perinatal depressive symptoms but refused treatment. A licensed marriage and family therapist delivered the family therapy intervention using Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act-compliant videoconferencing technology on a computer from an office. Families participated in sessions in their homes using cell phones, tablets, and computers equipped with microphones and video cameras. Outcomes were measured following the final therapy session (post intervention) and 2 months later (follow-up). Depressive symptom scores of mothers who received the video-delivered family therapy intervention were compared with those of mothers in the historical comparison group over a 6-month period. Univariate statistics and correlations were calculated to assess measures of feasibility. Percentages and qualitative thematic analysis were used to assess acceptability. Wilcoxon signed-rank tests were used to assess changes in maternal and family outcomes. Results: No families dropped out of the study. All families reported that the technology was convenient and easy to use. All families reported high satisfaction with the video-delivered intervention. Nearly all families reported that they preferred video-delivered family therapy instead of clinic-based therapy. Therapeutic alliance was strong. Mothers demonstrated a statistically significant reduction in depressive symptoms (P=.001). When compared with mothers in the historical comparison group, those in the family therapy intervention showed a significant reduction in depressive symptoms (P=.001). Families demonstrated statistically significant improvements in family functioning (P=.02) and cognitive reappraisal (P=.004). Conclusions: This pilot study yielded preliminary findings that support the feasibility, acceptability, and effectiveness of the video-delivered family therapy intervention for underserved home visited families in rural areas. Our findings are very promising, but more research is needed to ultimately influence mental health practices and policies that pertain to video-delivered mental health interventions in unsupervised settings(eg, homes).(author abstract)

Data Collection Methods

  • Standardized assessment tools
  • Surveys or questionnaires



For More Information

Cluxton-Keller, F., Williams, M., Buteau, J., Donnelly, C. L., Stolte, P., Monroe-Cassel, M., & Bruce, M. L. (2018). Video-delivered family therapy for home visited young mothers with perinatal depressive symptoms: Quasi-experimental implementation-effectiveness hybrid trial. JMIR Mental Health5(4). doi: 10.2196/11513
Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6305874/


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