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Keywords:

  • postpartum depression;
  • risk factors;
  • parenting;
  • maternal perceptions

Abstract

The relationships of maternal attributes, resources, and perceptions of the postpartum experience to postpartum depression (PPD) were examined. One hundred and forty-three mothers completed measures of maternal attributes, resources, and perceptions of the postpartum experience, as well as depressed mood and clinical depression symptoms. Results from canonical correlation analysis revealed two patterns. Pattern 1: Women without history of depression, more emotional support from partners, higher parenting evaluation, lower centrality of the infant in the mother's thoughts and actions, and fewer life changes had lower depressed mood and fewer clinical depression symptoms than their counterparts. Pattern 2: Mothers without history of depression who were married, with higher financial stress, and lower parenting evaluation had higher depressed mood, but not more clinical depression symptoms. Maternal age, parity, time since delivery, income, and help from partner were unrelated to either depression indicator. These patterns suggest multiple paths to PPD, and the need for routine mental health assessment and exploration of women's perceptions of their postpartum experience. © 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Res Nurs Health 28:159–171, 2005