The effect of telephone-based cognitive-behavioural therapy on parenting stress: A randomised controlled trial

Fei Wan Ngai, Paul Wai Ching Wong, Ka Fai Chung, Kwok Yin Leung

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


There are limited studies about the efficacy of cognitive-behavioural therapy delivered by telephone in reducing parenting stress. The present study investigates the effect of telephone-based cognitive-behavioural therapy on parenting stress at six weeks and six months postpartum. Methods This is a multi-site randomised controlled trial. A total of 397 Chinese mothers at risk of postnatal depression were randomly assigned to receive either telephone-based cognitive-behavioural therapy or routine postpartum care. Parental stress was assessed by the Parenting Stress Index Short Form at six weeks and six months postpartum. Results The findings revealed that mothers who had received telephone-based cognitive-behavioural therapy showed significantly lower levels of parenting stress than women only receiving routine postpartum care at six weeks (mean difference = 9.42, 95% confidence interval 5.85–12.99, p < 0.001, Cohen's d = 0.52) and six months postpartum (mean difference = 3.58, 95% confidence interval 0.07–7.09, p = 0.046, Cohen's d = 0.20). Conclusion Telephone-based cognitive-behavioural therapy is a promising treatment modality for supporting parenting and reducing stress during the transition period. Integration of telephone-based cognitive-behavioural therapy into routine postpartum care might facilitate positive adaptation in particular for mothers at risk of postnatal depression.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-38
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016


  • Cognitive-behavioural therapy
  • Parenting stress
  • Postpartum
  • Telephone intervention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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