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J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs. 2007 Nov-Dec;36(6):542-9.

Depression symptom prevalence and demographic risk factors among U.S. women during the first 2 years postpartum.

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  • 1College of Nursing, New York University, NY, USA.



To examine differences in depression symptom rates and severity and factors associated with depression ratings.


Cross-sectional sample of 1,359 American women who had delivered a single, live infant within the previous 2 years.


Data were collected using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale online to screen for depression symptoms as part of Listening to Mothers, a national survey sponsored by Childbirth Connection of New York City and administered by Harris Interactive between May and June 2002.


Evidence of continued mild and moderate-to-severe depression symptom rates throughout the first 2 years postpartum was found. Age, income, education, and employment had significant negative associations with depression symptom severity, and parity had a significant positive association with depression symptom severity. Race was not associated with depression symptom severity.


Long-term screening for childbearing women is justified based on the study findings. The ease in survey administration suggests potential for online depression screening by health care providers and researchers. Furthermore, risk factors identified from this large-scale national survey, specifically young maternal age, low income, low education, not being employed full time, and multiparity, merit evaluation in clinical practice and future research.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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