Purpose: To compare a novel psychotherapy, Partner-Assisted Interpersonal Psychotherapy
(PA-IPT), with treatment as usual (TAU) in a sample of pregnant women seeking treatment for
Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH)
Perinatal Psychiatry Program.
Participants: 52 women, ages 18-45, who are 16-29 weeks pregnant and experiencing a
depressive episode, and their partners.
Methods: Women and their identified partners will complete a diagnostic interview, complete
measures of depressive symptom severity at baseline, and be randomized to treatment with
PA-IPT or TAU. Women randomized to TAU will be treated by UNC physicians according to the
UNC-CH Perinatal Psychiatry Program's algorithm for treatment of prenatal MDD (usually one of
a number of antidepressant medications, tailored to the individual, although some women may
opt against medication altogether and still be eligible to enroll). Women randomized to
PA-IPT will participate in 8 therapy sessions with their identified partner over a 12-week
period, along with one refresher session at or around 6 weeks postpartum. Women and partners
will be assessed for change in depressive symptoms and relationship satisfaction during
pregnancy at visits 4 and 8, and postpartum at 6-week and 6-month visits.
Hypothesis: The investigators anticipate notable improvement in both groups similar in
magnitude, however it is hypothesized that couples participating in PA-IPT will have higher
relationship satisfaction post-treatment (controlling for baseline satisfaction) than those