Thinking Healthy Program Peer Delivered Plus (THPP+)


Human Development Research Foundation, Pakistan






Other: Enhanced Usual Care
Behavioral: Thinking Healthy Program Peer Delivered Plus

Study type


Funder types




Details and patient eligibility


Background The negative effects of perinatal depression on mother and child start early and persist throughout the life-course. Given that 10-35% of children worldwide are exposed to perinatal depression in their first year of life, 16 mitigating this intergenerational risk is a global public health priority. However, there is a dearth of studies on whether a maternal depression intervention can have long-term benefits for either the mother or her child. This is a study of the effectiveness of an extended 36-month peer-delivered depression intervention, the Thinking Healthy Programme PLUS (THPP+) for women and their children in rural Pakistan. Study Design The THPP+ study aims to evaluate the effects of an extended 36-month perinatal depression intervention on mother and child outcomes using a cluster randomized controlled trial (c-RCT) design. The trial will recruit 560 pregnant women who screened positive for perinatal depression (PHQ-9 \>=10) from 40 village clusters, of which 20 clusters will receive the THPP+ intervention delivered by trained peers. These women will have already been participating in the trial of the shorter, 6 month long, version of the intervention. Women in the THPP+ intervention arm will receive bimonthly group-based sessions. Primary outcomes are 3-year maternal depression and 3-year child socio-emotional and cognitive development. All primary analyses will be intention-to-treat and will account for the clustered study design. Discussion This trial has the potential to further significantly our understanding of whether intervening on women's perinatal depression can mitigate the negative effects of maternal depression on 36-month child development.

Full description

Every year millions of children begin a compromised developmental trajectory resulting from exposure to maternal depression. In recent years, compelling evidence that maternal depression leads to worse developmental outcomes in the child has prompted a dramatic increase in efforts to ameliorate it. However, empirical evidence linking depression treatment to improved developmental trajectories in offspring is far from robust. The evidence is lacking due to several methodological limitations of previous studies, namely, insufficient follow-up, lack of appropriate control group, and/or lack of attention to the psychological and behavioral mechanisms underlying the impact of interventions on both the mother and child. We propose an innovative, cost-effective extension to an NIMH-funded perinatal depression cluster randomized controlled intervention trial (RCT) in Pakistan (SHARE: U19MH095687). The SHARE RCT includes individual and community-wide components and follows mothers with prenatal depression until 6 months postpartum. Our proposal, SHARE CHILD, builds on this trial in several critical ways. We (1) focus on child outcomes, (2) extend follow-up to 36 months postpartum, (3) include mothers who did not screen positive for depression in the 3rd trimester, thus enabling additional comparisons, and (4) investigate factors that mediate and modify the effect of the intervention on child outcomes. A unique window of opportunity is made possible due to the anticipated spring 2014 enrollment start date of the SHARE trial. Our long-term goal is to identify key modifiable factors in the intergenerational transmission of risk from depressed mothers to their children. The overall objective of this proposal is to rigorously evaluate the impact of a community based perinatal depression intervention on child development by expanding the sample of an already funded RCT and extending the follow-up period to 36 months postpartum. Our central hypothesis is that the perinatal depression intervention will lead to improved child socio-emotional, cognitive, and physical outcomes. Including the non-depressed dyads in our analyses will enable us to further determine (a) how much of the excess risk due to maternal depression exposure the intervention can mitigate and (b) whether this community based intervention has an impact on all children living in the intervention clusters, even if their mothers were not depressed prenatally. Such insights would not otherwise be possible without this expanded sample given the dearth of information on child developmental norms in this setting. Together, the unique opportunity to extend the SHARE trial to the broader SHARE CHILD study and the approaches we propose will yield novel and definitive evidence of the impact of treating perinatal depression on child developmental outcomes.


1,154 patients




18+ years old


No Healthy Volunteers

Inclusion criteria

  • currently enrolled in THPP trial
  • married
  • residing in study area for the long term

Exclusion criteria

  • Requiring immediate medical attention
  • development of psychotic or manic episode
  • broken mother-child dyad

Trial design

Primary purpose




Interventional model

Parallel Assignment


Single Blind

1,154 participants in 2 patient groups

Experimental group
As part of THPP+, the intervention will continue from the 6th month postnatal through 36 months postnatal and so will consist of an additional 30 months of lower intensity services that are unique to THPP+. The THPP+ will also include additional group sessions to be held every other month for a total of 18 over the intervention duration. The content will be a continuation of the previous THPP sessions with continuing emphasis on self-care as well as the baby's health and development.
Behavioral: Thinking Healthy Program Peer Delivered Plus
Enhanced Usual Care
Active Comparator group
Women in the control clusters who were depressed prenatally have been receiving Enhanced Usual Care (EUC). At the time of the screening, women, their Lady Health Workers, and their local primary health care facility were informed of the diagnosis, and women were given an information sheet about depression and how to access care. There are no new EUC protocols put in place post-partum as part of the THPP+.
Other: Enhanced Usual Care

Trial documents

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