Life Stress as a Risk Factor for Postpartum Depression: Current Research and Methodological Issues

Authors

  • Joel D. Swendsen,

    Corresponding author
    1. University of Bordeaux
      Address correspondence to Joel D. Swendsen, Department of Psychology, University of Bordeaux II, 3 ter, Place de la Vic-toire, 33076 Bordeaux, France. Electronic mail may be sent to Joel.Swendsen@psycho.u-bordeaux2.fr
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  • Carolyn M. Mazure

    1. Yale University School of Medicine
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Address correspondence to Joel D. Swendsen, Department of Psychology, University of Bordeaux II, 3 ter, Place de la Vic-toire, 33076 Bordeaux, France. Electronic mail may be sent to Joel.Swendsen@psycho.u-bordeaux2.fr

Abstract

There is compelling evidence to suggest that acute adverse life events and certain stressors specific to motherhood increase the risk of maternity blues and diagnoses of postpartum depression. Other psychosocial factors that are likely to explain vulnerability to postpartum depression include previous history of depression and the stress-moderating effects of social support and coping responses. This article reviews the emerging empirical literature on stress and postpartum depression and presents a discussion of methodological issues relevant to advancing this area of research. Multivariate models that examine the interplay of these variables are now required to further our understanding of these syndromes.

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