Send to

Choose Destination
Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 2010 Oct;45(10):983-8. doi: 10.1007/s00127-009-0145-y. Epub 2009 Oct 25.

Violence and depressive symptoms during pregnancy: a primary care study in Brazil.

Author information

Departamento de Medicina Social, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil.



To estimate the prevalence of violence, depressive symptoms, and associated factors during pregnancy in women attending antenatal care in Brazil.


Violence was assessed using a modified version of the abuse assessment screen (ASS), and depressive symptoms were evaluated using the primary care evaluation of mental disorders (PRIME-MD). Participants were pregnant women attending 18 primary care units in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, between June 2006 and April 2007. A total of 712 pregnant women participated, but only 627 of them responded the ASS.


Experience of any lifetime violence was reported by 273 (43.4%) women and 114 (18.2%) reported violence during the current pregnancy. One-third of them (n = 211) reported lifetime domestic violence and 100 (15.9%) women reported this type of violence during the current pregnancy. Experience of domestic violence during pregnancy was more common in unemployed women, among those with two or more children, with a higher consumption of alcohol, and who had not planned their current pregnancy. Of the total of sample (n = 712), 198 (27.8%) women reported six or more depressive symptoms. The presence of depressive symptoms during pregnancy was associated with low educational levels, living in a household with five or more people, and with higher consumption of alcohol during pregnancy.


Pregnant women attending primary care are exposed to high rates of domestic violence, and many have clinically relevant depressive symptoms. Appropriate interventions to avoid or minimize the effects of violence and mental disorders to the well-being of the mothers and their babies are urgently required. Primary care services play an important role in identifying and supporting women at risk.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer
Loading ...
Support Center