Associations among postpartum depression, eating disorders, and perfectionism in a population-based sample of adult women

Authors

  • Suzanne E. Mazzeo PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia
    2. Department of Pediatrics, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia
    • Department of Psychology, Virginia Commonwealth University, P.O. Box 842018, Richmond, VA 23284-2018
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  • Margarita C.T. Slof-Op't Landt Ir,

    1. National Centre for Eating Disorders, Leidschendam/Oegstgeest, The Netherlands
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  • Ian Jones MD,

    1. Department of Psychological Medicine, Cardiff University, Wales, United Kingdom
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  • Karen Mitchell BS,

    1. Department of Psychology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia
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  • Kenneth S. Kendler MD,

    1. Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia
    2. Department of Psychiatry, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia
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  • Michael C. Neale PhD,

    1. Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia
    2. Department of Psychiatry, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia
    3. Department of Human Genetics, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia
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  • Steven H. Aggen PhD,

    1. Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia
    2. Department of Psychiatry, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia
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  • Cynthia M. Bulik PhD

    1. Department of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
    2. Department of Nutrition, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
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Abstract

Objective

The current study investigated associations among eating disorders, depressive symptoms during pregnancy and postpartum, and perfectionism in a population-based sample of women.

Method

Females who reported ≥1 pregnancy (N = 1,119) completed questionnaires assessing perfectionism, eating disorder symptomatology, and depression during pregnancy and postpartum. Information regarding participants' history of major depressive disorder (MDD) was also available from structured psychiatric interviews completed during a previous wave of data collection.

Results

Depressive symptoms during pregnancy and postpartum were high among women with a history of eating disorders. Both binge eating disorder (BED) and bulimia nervosa (BN) were positively associated with symptoms of postpartum depression (PPD), even when lifetime MDD was controlled. However, logistic regression indicated that women with a history of BN and BED are at particular risk of developing PPD symptomatology. Linear regression analyses conducted with the subset of the sample who endorsed a PPD screening item suggested that the severity of PPD symptomatology may be attributable to Concern Over Mistakes, a specific aspect of perfectionism.

Conclusion

These results highlight the importance of assessing specific features of perfectionism. In addition, they suggest that women with BN, BED, or high Concern over Mistakes may be at particular risk of developing PPD symptoms, and could benefit from prenatal screening. © 2006 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc., Int J Eat Disord, 2006

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