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Title: Adapting and testing a brief intervention to reduce maternal anxiety during pregnancy (ACORN): report of a feasibility randomized controlled trial.
Austin Authors: O'Mahen, Heather A;Ramchandani, Paul G;King, Dorothy X;Lee-Carbon, Leonie;Wilkinson, Esther L;Thompson-Booth, Chloe;Ericksen, Jennifer ;Milgrom, Jeannette ;Dunkley-Bent, Jacqueline;Halligan, Sarah L;Fearon, Pasco
Affiliation: Parent-Infant Research Institute
Centre for Research on Play in Education, Development, and Learning, Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, CB2 8PQ, England
Mood Disorders Research Centre, University of Exeter, Exeter, EX4 4QG, UK
Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences, University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC, 3010, Australia
Research Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology, University College London, London, WC1E 7HB, UK
Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust, Trust Head Office, The Lodge, Runwell, Wickford, Essex, SS11 7XX, UK
Department of Psychology, University of Bath, Bath, BA2 7AY, UK
Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, University of Cape Town, J-Block, Groote Schuur Hospital, Observatory, Cape Town, South Africa
Centre for Mental Health, Imperial College London, Hammersmith Campus, London, W12 0NN, UK
Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, Stephenson House, London, NW1 2PL, UK
Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King's College London, London, SE5 8AF, UK
NHS England, Nursing Directorate, Skipton House, London, SE1 6LH, UK
Issue Date: 17-Feb-2022
Date: 2022
Publication information: BMC Psychiatry 2022; 22(1): 129
Abstract: We investigated the acceptability and feasibility of a new brief intervention for maternal prenatal anxiety within maternity services in London and Exeter, UK. One hundred fourteen pregnant individuals attending their 12-week scan at a prenatal clinic with elevated symptoms of anxiety (GAD-7 score of ≥7) were randomly assigned to either the ACORN intervention + Treatment as usual (TAU) (n = 57) or to usual care only (n = 57). The ACORN intervention consisted of 3 2-h group sessions, led by a midwife and psychological therapist, for pregnant individuals and their partners. The intervention included psychoeducation about anxiety, strategies for problem-sovling and tolerating uncertainty during pregnancy, including communicating about these with others, and mindfulness exercises. Engagement rates with ACORN met or exceeded those in primary care services in England. In the intervention arm, 77% (n = 44) of participants attended at least one session, 51% (n = 29) were adherent, defined as attending two or more sessions. Feedback was positive, and participants in the ACORN treatment group demonstrated evidence of a larger drop in their levels of anxiety than the participants in the TAU-only group (Cohen's d = 0.42). The ACORN intervention was acceptable to pregnant individuals and their partners and resulted in reductions in anxiety. With further evaluation in a larger-scale trial with child outcomes, there is significant potential for large scale public health benefit.
DOI: 10.1186/s12888-022-03737-1
ORCID: 0000-0001-8359-0103
Journal: BMC Psychiatry
PubMed URL: 35177019
PubMed URL:
Type: Journal Article
Subjects: Antenatal
Randomised controlled trial
Appears in Collections:Journal articles

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