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J Affect Disord. 2000 Jul;59(1):31-40.

Psychosocial correlates of prepartum and postpartum depressed mood.

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Department of Epidemiology, Montreal General Hospital and McGill University, Montreal, Canada.



The aim of the present study was to delineate the influence of maternal stress, social support and coping styles on depressed mood during pregnancy and the early postpartum period.


Beginning in the third month of pregnancy, data on numerous variables including daily stress (Hassles), state-anxiety (STAI-state), pregnancy-specific stress (PEQ) and depressed mood (DACL) were collected monthly. In each trimester social support (SSQ), coping strategies (CISS) and pregnancy progress were assessed. Approximately 4-5 weeks following delivery, information on labor, delivery and infant status was collected and the DACL and the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) were administered. The final sample consisted of 80 women.


Approximately 16% of the women in this sample experienced depressed mood in the postpartum and 25% of the sample reported depressed mood only during pregnancy. Women depressed only during pregnancy and those depressed in the postpartum reported more emotional coping and higher trait and state anxiety during gestation. More hassles during pregnancy was related to prepartum depressed mood, but not postpartum depressed mood. Consistent with the literature, the best predictor of postpartum depressed mood was depressed mood during pregnancy.


The sample size was relatively small and we relied solely on self-reported depressive symptomology.


The findings point to specific psychosocial variables which can be targeted early in pregnancy to reduce the rate of depressed mood in the prepartum and postpartum periods.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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