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Ups J Med Sci. 2012 Nov;117(4):430-8. doi: 10.3109/03009734.2012.684805. Epub 2012 May 10.

The association between perceived relationship discord at childbirth and parental postpartum depressive symptoms: a comparison of mothers and fathers in Sweden.

Author information

  • 1Centre for Clinical Research, Uppsala University, Central Hospital, Västerås, Sweden. birgitta.kerstis@ltv.se

Abstract

AIM:

To examine whether mothers' and fathers' levels of perceived relationship discord at childbirth were associated with postpartum depressive symptoms when the child was 3 months old. Another aim was to examine parents' levels of self-reported depressive symptoms. The hypothesis was that parents with high levels of perceived relationship discord have higher levels of postpartum depressive symptoms than parents with low levels of perceived relationship discord.

METHOD:

One week after childbirth, 305 couples' perceived level of relationship discord was measured using the Dyadic Consensus Subscale (DCS) of the Dyadic Adjustment Scale (DAS). At 3 months postpartum, the same couples answered the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) questionnaire. The relations between perceived level of relationship discord and postpartum depressive symptoms were analysed using standard non-parametric statistical methods.

RESULTS:

The mothers and fathers partly differed regarding which areas of their relationship they perceived that they disagreed with their partners about. Furthermore, 16.5% of the mothers and 8.7% of the fathers reported postpartum depressive symptoms, and there was a moderate level of correlation between the DCS and EPDS scores.

CONCLUSION:

These results may be useful for professionals in antenatal care and child health centres as well as for family caregivers who need to be aware that mothers and fathers may have different views on relationship discord and of the high level of depressive symptoms in recent parents. Further research is needed to examine perceived relationship discord and the development of depressive symptoms postpartum over a longer term.

PMID:
22574747
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3497219
Free PMC Article

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