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Problem-solving education may lower depression risk among low-income moms, finds study
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Problem-solving education may lower depression risk among low-income moms, finds study

Depression is a common mental problem bothering a majority of the U.S. population. While stress is one of the biggest risk factors that triggers the condition, a randomized study published recently in JAMA Network Open has found that imparting problem-solving education (PSE) to low-income mothers may help reduce their perceived stress, and subsequently the depressive symptoms. Researchers also observed that there was no correlation between depression and behavioral activation/problem-focused coping.

The study was conducted on a sample of around 230 low-income mothers between 2011 and 2016. Each participant was given six one-on-one, workbook-based PSE activities in their homes or at the facilities that host “Head Start.” Head Start is a government-funded program that aims to provide early childhood education to low-income children and families. A follow-up was planned with the moms at 6 and 12 months during which several participants had dropped out of the program. On conducting the analysis, the researchers concluded the following:

  • The perceived stress level was lower by 11 percent in around 111 women who received PSE.
  • As compared to the control group, women who received PSE showed around 15 percent higher rate of “behavioral activation” change and around 17 percent increased rate in problem-focused coping.
  • The improvement in perceived stress was found to be associated with both intervention participation and depressive symptom outcomes. However, the ways in which intervention participation majorly impacted the level of depression remained unexplained.

According to Michael Silverstein of Boston Medical Center, who led the study, PSE helped curb depression by leaving a scope for the participants to escape everyday stress. He further said that no association was found between a woman’s mastery levels, her self-efficiency, avoidant coping, social coping and PSE or depression. Moreover, offering PSE did not alter anyone’s problem-solving inventory scores.

Further research needed

The researchers believe that the latest study was limited only to the impact of problem solving on depression, and was not elaborate enough to include the effectiveness of different intervention techniques that might affect behavioral changes. They also said that although the study revealed that PSE had a greater impact on depression than acute stress, the process of the same is still unknown.

They therefore recommended a reduction in unrelated factors in future studies so as to easily determine more concrete results. In fact, including individual risk factors like family histories of mental disorders, childhood adversities, self-esteem, and substance abuse might also prove to be helpful in drawing more tangible conclusions.

Seeking help is crucial

It is important to understand that depression is a debilitating illness that should be treated under an expert’s guidance. It is fine to opt for some alternative ways to treat depression, but relying on them for a long period can be dangerous. Seeking advice from a professional ensures that the condition is accurately diagnosed and a proper treatment process is designed to ensure recovery.

Women are twice more likely to get affected by depression than men. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the incidence of major depressive episode was higher among adult females (8.5 percent) compared to males (4.8 percent). If you or someone you know is looking for an outpatient or inpatient depression treatment for women, contact Sovereign Health that operates some of the best mental health treatment centers and rehabs in the U.S. Call at our 24/7 helpline or chat with our online representative for complete details about our comprehensive depression treatment for women and other evidence-based mental treatment programs.

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