Pregnancy and the Acceptability of Computer-Based Versus Traditional Mental Health Treatments

Liisa Hantsoo, Jessica Podcasy, Mary Sammel, Cynthia Neill Epperson, Deborah R. Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: Recent recommendations urge increased depression screening in pregnant and postpartum women, potentially increasing demand for treatment. Computer-based psychotherapy treatments may address some of perinatal women's unique mental health treatment needs and barriers. Materials and Methods: We conducted a quantitative survey of pregnant women (≥12 weeks of gestation) on preferences regarding computer-based therapies compared with traditional therapies (psychotherapy and medication). Nonpregnant women and men served as comparison groups. Participants were provided descriptions of three computer-based therapies: Video telehealth therapy (VTT), computer-assisted therapy (CAT), and self-guided online therapy (SGO). Participants were asked to select all options that they would consider for treatment as well as first choice preference. The Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) assessed current depressive symptomatology, and the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI) assessed psychiatric history. Results: Participants included pregnant females (n = 111), nonpregnant females (n = 147), and males (n = 54). Among pregnant women, 77.5% (n = 86) indicated that they would consider some form of computer-based therapy for mental health treatment during pregnancy; VTT was the most commonly considered, followed by CAT and SGO. When asked to select their preferred intervention, traditional talk therapy was the first choice among all three groups, controlling for treatment history and PHQ-9 score. About one-third of pregnant women chose some form of computer-based therapy as their top choice. Conclusions: While computer-based therapies were acceptable to most pregnant women in this sample, traditional talk therapy was the preferred option. Future research should consider how to tailor computer-based therapies to the unique needs of perinatal women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1106-1113
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Women's Health
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • CCBT
  • depression
  • eHealth
  • internet-based treatment
  • perinatal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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