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Postpartum depression: Screening tools and associated risk factors

Sona P. Patel, MPH, Department of Prevention and Community Health, The George Washington University, 2175 K Street, NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037, 202-625-0920, sonapatel79@hotmail.com and Karen A. McDonnell, PhD, Maternal and Child Health, George Washington University School of Public Health, 2175 K Street Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037.

Objectives: This study compared two validated postpartum depression (PD) screening tools, the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Screening Scale and Postpartum Depression Screening Scale (PDSS), in identifying individuals who may require further evaluation for postpartum depression. This study also determined if the association between PD risk factors and positive results on either screening tool was statistically significant using a Risk Factor Survey (a modified version of the Postpartum Depression Predictors Inventory). Methods: 67 women were recruited from 5 different OB/GYN private practices in Washington D.C. and completed the 3 self-administered tools at their 6-week postpartum appointment. Results: Most women were white (73.1%), married (95.5%), had a graduate/professional degree (55%) and an average age of 33 years. Twice as many women needed further evaluation for PD using the PDSS (49%) compared to the EPDS (24%). The following risk factors had a statistically significant association (p-value < 0.10, 90% CI) with positive screening tool outcomes: depression during pregnancy, emotional support, ability to rely and confide in individuals, pain during labor/delivery, infantís fussiness/irritability, and history of baby blues. Both tools exhibited moderate correlation (r=0.57) in identifying individuals at risk for and who required further evaluation for PD. Both tools exhibited high correlation (r=0.80) when comparing total scores. Conclusions: The EPDS and PDSS were highly correlated and the level of agreement among the risk factors analyzed was also very high. Early and accurate identification of women at risk for PD via screening tools can help reduce barriers to mental health care for depressed mothers.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Maternal Well-Being, Maternal and Child Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

The Third Annual Outstanding Student Papers in Maternal and Child Health

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA