Randomised Controlled Trial of Parent-Infant Psychotherapy

  • Summary

    This study examined the outcomes of psychoanalytic parent-infant psychotherapy (PIP) and treatment as usual for mothers with mental health difficulties and their infants. Outcomes in terms of infant development, the parent-infant relationship and maternal mental health were assessed at baseline, and at two follow-up points 6-months and 12 months later. The results showed that mothers in the PIP treatment had significantly better outcomes over time and relative to the control on measures of maternal mental health, parenting stress and maternal representations of the baby. No between group differences were observed in relation to child development, parent-infant interaction or infant attachment status at the 12 month follow-up. The findings suggest that parent-infant psychotherapy for this population may be particularly helpful in alleviating maternal psychological distress.

  • Project team


    The Big Lottery Fund

    Principal Investigators:

    Peter Fonagy

    Senior Research Fellow: 

    Michelle Sleed

  • Publications

    Fonagy, P., Sleed, M. & Baradon, T. (2016). Randomized controlled trial of parent–infant psychotherapy for parents with mental health problems and young infants. Infant Mental Health Journal, 37(2), 97-114.

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