Social exclusion, infant behavior, social isolation, and maternal expectations independently predict maternal depressive symptoms

Authors

  • John Eastwood,

    ED, Corresponding author
    1. School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of New South Wales, Australia
    • School of Women's and Children's Health, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
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  • Bin Jalaludin,

    1. School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of New South Wales, Australia
    2. Centre for Research Evidence Management and Surveillance, South Western Sydney Local Health District, Liverpool, New South Wales, Australia
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  • Lynn Kemp,

    1. Centre for Health Equity Training Research and Evaluation, University of New South Wales, Liverpool, New South Wales, Australia
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  • Hai Phung,

    1. Simpson Centre, South Western Sydney Area Health Service, Liverpool, New South Wales, Australia
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  • Bryanne Barnett,

    AM
    1. School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
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  • Jacinta Tobin

    1. University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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Correspondence

John Eastwood ed, Department of Community Paediatrics, South Western Local Health District, Locked Bag 7017, Liverpool BC, New South Wales 1871, Australia.

Tel: +61-2-9828-5992; Fax: +61-2-9828-5744; E-mail: John.eastwood@sswahs.nsw.gov.au

Abstract

The objective of the study was to identify latent variables that can be used to inform theoretical models of perinatal influences on postnatal depressed mood and maternal–infant attachment. A routine survey of mothers with newborn infants was commenced in South Western Sydney in 2000. The survey included the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) and 46 psychosocial and health-related variables. Mothers (n = 15,389) delivering in 2002 and 2003 were surveyed at 2–3 weeks for depressive symptoms. Nonlinear principal components analysis was undertaken to identify dimensions that might represent latent variables. Correlations between latent variables and EPDS >12 were assessed by logistic regression. A five-dimension solution was identified, which accounted for 51% of the variance among the items studied. The five dimensions identified were maternal responsiveness, social exclusion, infant behavior, migrant social isolation, and family size. In addition, the variable maternal expectation contributed significantly to total variance and was included in the regression analysis. Regression on EPDS >12 was predictive for all variables except for maternal responsiveness, which was considered an outcome variable. The findings are consistent with the proposition that social exclusion, infant behavior, social isolation among migrant mothers, and maternal expectations are determinants of maternal mood.

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