Home-Based Peer Support Study

Postpartum depression (PPD) affects maternal-infant interaction qualityHome-Based Peer Support Study and produces adverse social and cognitive developmental outcomes in children.

PPD and disruptions of maternal-infant interaction have been implicated in changes in infants' neuroendocrine function as indicated by elevated cortisol levels. In turn, elevated cortisol has been associated with reduced cognition and memory, attentional difficulties, poor self-control, and behavioral problems in preschoolers. The objective of this randomized controlled trial (RCT) is to examine the impact of a home-based peer support intervention for mothers affected by PPD and their infants. This RCT follows logically from the ongoing work of the investigators in: (1) assessing the support needs and preferences of mothers with PPD (2) trialing a preventive telephone-based peer support intervention for mothers with PPD, and (3) trialing home-based support for maternal-infant interaction.


The primary hypothesis of this study predicts that home-based peer support will improve maternal-infant interactions. Secondary hypotheses predict that home-based peer support will: improve infants' cognitive development; improve infants' social development; decrease average daily salivary cortisol levels in infants; reduce maternal depressive symptomatology; and improve maternal perceptions of social support.

For more information on this study, please contact Nicole Letourneau (nicolel@unb.ca)


United States March of Dimes ($200,000 US funds)

Research Team

  • N. Letourneau (PI)
  • M. Stewart
  • K. Hegadoren
  • C.L. Dennis
  • Doug Willms