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J Reprod Med. 2000 Feb;45(2):97-104.

Cultural elements of postpartum depression. A study of 327 Jewish Jerusalem women.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Chaim-Sheeba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, Israel.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To examine the social, cultural and religious factors underlying postpartum depression within a cultural cross-section of Jewish Jerusalem women.

STUDY DESIGN:

A prospective, repeated-measures study of 327 women. The Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale (EPDS) was administered immediately postpartum and 6-10 weeks later. Detailed sociodemographic information included perceptions of the pregnancy, community supports and religious affiliation. Odds ratios, 95% confidence interval and P values were calculated for all covariates. Multiple logistic regression was performed to estimate the degree of independent association between religiosity and postpartum depression.

RESULTS:

Postpartum depressive symptoms significantly associated with secular affiliation (odds ratio [OR] 2.9 [1.3-6.3] and tended toward an inverse association with orthodox affiliation (OR 0.6 [0.3-1.3]). Across secular, traditional, religious and orthodox groups, there was a decreasing trend in EPDS mean scores. Other predictors of depressive symptoms were psychiatric history, immigrant status and poor support with newborn care.

CONCLUSION:

Our study sample was particularly suitable for the assessment of cultural and religious elements of postpartum depression. We found religiosity, with its associated social and community structuring and well-defined social roles, to be significantly associated with self-reported postpartum depressive symptoms. These findings suggest that cultural factors, including role definitions, community support and rituals, may explain discrepancies found in the incidence of postpartum depression.

PMID:
10710738
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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