Effects of digital parenting interventions on self-efficacy, social support, and depressive symptoms in the transition to parenthood: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Marianne Lin-Lewry, Cai Thi Thuy Nguyen, Mega Hasanul Huda, Shao Yu Tsai, Roselyn Chipojola, Shu Yu Kuo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Parenting self-efficacy is essential for the transition to parenthood. As digital parenting educational interventions are rapidly being developed, their effects have not been examined by pooling available randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Objectives: To comprehensively investigate the effects of digital educational interventions on parents’ self-efficacy, social support, and depressive symptoms in the first year after childbirth and identify the significant associated factors. Methods: This study searched six electronic databases for relevant RCTs examining the efficacy of digital parenting interventions from inception to September 2022. The studied outcomes included changes in parent's self-efficacy, social support, and depressive symptoms observed after participating in a digital parenting program. The random-effects model was used to pool results. Subgroup and moderator analyses were performed. Results: In total, seven RCTs enrolling 1342 participants were included. The parents who received digital parenting interventions had higher parenting self-efficacy (standardized mean difference [SMD]: 1.06, 95 % confidence interval [CI]: 0.40–1.71, p =.002) and social support (SMD: 2.72, 95 % CI: 0.38–5.07, p =.02) and decreased depressive symptoms at 3 months postpartum (SMD: −0.39, 95 % CI: −0.73 to − 0.04, p =.03). Providing the interventions for ≥ 6 weeks (SMD: 1.62, 95 % CI: 1.18–2.06, p <.001), providing in-person orientation (SMD: 1.88, 95 % CI: 1.32–2.44, p <.001), including a guided curriculum (SMD: 2.00, 95 % CI: 1.78–2.22, p <.001), and conducting interventions in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries (SMD: 1.98, 95 % CI: 1.78–2.19, p <.001) were identified as significant moderators. Conclusions: Digital parenting interventions significantly increase parenting self-efficacy and social support as well as alleviate depressive symptoms for parents during their first year after childbirth. Such interventions can be beneficial for parents who prefer online education. Future studies investigating the long-term effects of these interventions are warranted. Registration: The protocol for this systematic review and meta-analysis is registered in PROSPERO (registration number: CRD42021243641).

Original languageEnglish
Article number105405
JournalInternational Journal of Medical Informatics
Publication statusPublished - May 2024


  • Depression
  • Digital
  • Digital intervention
  • Meta-analysis
  • Parents
  • Self-efficacy
  • Social support
  • Transition to parenthood

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics


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