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Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 2007 May;42(5):389-95. Epub 2007 Mar 29.

Global and relationship-specific perceptions of support and the development of postpartum depressive symptomatology.

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  • 1Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, M5T 1P8, Canada. cindylee.dennis@utoronto.ca

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

A lack of social support has consistently been demonstrated to be an important modifiable risk factor for postpartum depression. As such, a greater understanding of specific support variables may assist health professionals in the development of effective preventive interventions. The purpose of this paper was two-fold: (1) to determine if women discriminated between global and relationship-specific perceptions of support, and (2) to examine the influence of global and relationship-specific perceptions of support in the immediate postpartum period on the development of depressive symptomatology at 8 weeks postpartum.

METHODS:

As part of a longitudinal study, a diverse sample of 594 mothers completed questionnaires that included the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) and global and relationship-specific (e.g., partner, mother, and other women with children) measures of support.

RESULTS:

Mothers clearly discriminated between global and relationship-specific perceptions of support and those with depressive symptomatology at 8 weeks had significantly lower perceptions of both global and relationship-specific support at 1-week postpartum. Using discriminant function analysis, four variables, reliable reliance from partner, nurturance from partner, attachment to other women with children, and EPDS score at 1-week postpartum, differentiated between mothers who experienced depressive symptomatology at 8 weeks and those who did not.

CONCLUSION:

Relationship-specific interventions may be beneficial if they include strategies that target a positive partner relationship through preceptions of reliable alliance and feeling needed and provide opportunites for interaction with other mothers. Maternal mood at 1 week postpartum was the largest predictor of depressive symptomatology at 8 weeks.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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