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Matern Child Health J. 2015 May;19(5):1131-41. doi: 10.1007/s10995-014-1613-x.

Antenatal depressive symptoms associated with specific life events and sources of social support among Italian women.

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Department of Psychology, University of Bologna, Viale Berti Pichat 5, 40127, Bologna, Italy,


This study aimed to identify different kinds of stressful life events and social support associated with antenatal depressive symptoms in a sample of pregnant Italian women. We conducted the study at a primary health-care centre in an urban area (northeast Italy). Mainly recruited at antenatal classes, 404 eligible pregnant women completed a socio-demographic questionnaire that included questions about the present pregnancy, the Edinburgh Depression Scale (EDS) to estimate the prevalence of depressive symptoms, the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support and List of Threatening Experiences Questionnaire to investigate the quality and nature of social support and recent negative life events. Of the 404 women, 60 (14.9 %) scored 13 or higher on the EDS. This group reported significantly lower social support from various sources-family, friends, and significant others; only in primiparous women were depressive symptoms significantly related to lower support from friends. Women with EDS scores equal or higher than 13 also reported a higher occurrence of recent stressful life events-specifically, death or a serious problem with a close friend or relative, unemployment, financial problems, and moving or housing difficulties. Regression analyses showed that women with high levels of social support or with a positive experience of pregnancy were less likely to experience antenatal depressive symptoms. Our results underscore the associations among antenatal depression, specific life stressors, and low social support from various sources. Clinical attention to these psychosocial correlates is recommended toward detecting vulnerability to antenatal depressive symptoms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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