Mental health and wellbeing in parents of excessively crying infants: prospective evaluation of a support package

Powell, Charlotte, Bamber, Deborah, Long, Jaqui, Garratt, Rosemary, Brown, Jayne, Rudge, Sally, Morris, Tom, Bhupendra Jaicim, Nishal, Plachcinski, Rachel, Dyson, Sue E., Boyle, Elaine and St James-Roberts, Ian (2018) Mental health and wellbeing in parents of excessively crying infants: prospective evaluation of a support package. Child: Care, Health & Development, 44 (4) . pp. 607-615. ISSN 1365-2214 [Article] (doi:10.1111/cch.12566)

PDF (NIHR Prospective Study) - Final accepted version (with author's formatting)
Download (855kB) | Preview


During the first four months of age, approximately 20% of infants cry a lot without an apparent reason. Most research has targeted the crying and its causes, but there is a need for equal attention to the impact of the crying on parents and subsequent outcomes. This study reports the findings
from a prospective evaluation of a package of materials designed to support the wellbeing and mental health of parents who judge their infant to be crying excessively. The resulting ‘Surviving Crying’ package comprised a website, printed materials, and a programme of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy - based support sessions delivered to parents by a qualified practitioner. It was designed to be suitable for National Health Service (NHS) use.
Parents were referred to the study by NHS Health Visitors or Community Public Health Nurses. Fifty
seven parents of excessively crying babies received the support package and provided rating scale measures of depression, anxiety, frustration because of the crying, and other measures before receiving the support package, together with outcome measures afterwards.
Significant reductions in depression and anxiety were found with the number of parents meeting clinical criteria for depression or anxiety halving between baseline and outcome. These improvements were not explained by changes in infant crying. Reductions also occurred in the
number of parents reporting the crying to be a large or severe problem (from 28 to 3 parents) or feeling very or extremely frustrated by the crying (from 31 to 1 parent). Other findings included increases in parents’ confidence, knowledge of infant crying and improvements in parents’ sleep.
The findings suggest that the Surviving Crying package may be effective in supporting the wellbeing and mental health of parents of excessively crying babies. Further, large-scale controlled trials of the package in NHS settings are warranted.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Health and Education > Adult, Child and Midwifery
Item ID: 23926
Notes on copyright: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Powell C, Bamber D, Long J, et al. Mental health and well‐being in parents of excessively crying infants: Prospective evaluation of a support package. Child Care Health Dev. 2018;44:607–615. , which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Sue Dyson
Date Deposited: 20 Mar 2018 16:26
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 19:49

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Activity Overview
6 month trend
6 month trend

Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.