Article abstract


Introduction: gender-based violence during pregnancy and its associated adverse health effects are disproportionately higher in developing countries like Kenya where screening for and management of gender-based violence is currently not part of routine antenatal care. This study assessed the effect of a psychosocial intervention on gender-based violence and antepartum depressive symptoms in pregnant women.

 

Methods: this quasi-experimental study compared gender-based violence and antepartum depression scores of 288 pregnant women in the two arms; one exposed to a psychosocial intervention and another receiving usual antenatal care. We used analysis of covariance to estimate the intervention effect and Chi-square to test the equality of proportions.

 

Results: the difference between the psychosocial intervention and the usual antenatal care group in the total intimate partner violence and physical violence scores was a significant, with small effect sizes of partial eta = 0.196 and 0.305 respectively. The two arms did not differ in terms of the proportion of women reporting other acts of gender-based violence by intimate and non-intimate partners post-intervention. The intervention group had significantly lower mean depression scores compared to the usual care group, post-intervention, with a medium effect size of 0.500.

 

Conclusion: this intervention aimed at reduction of gender-based violence and improvement of mental health of pregnant women is promising. Primary health care facilities in resource-constrained settings can take advantage of local capacity to deliver focused non-specialized psychosocial support to pregnant women experiencing violence.