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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women's experience when interacting with the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale: A brief note


Alistair Campbell, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, 4814, Australia. Email:


Background: The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) is one of the most widely used screening instruments for maternal perinatal anxiety and depression. It has maintained its robust performance when translated into multiple languages, when used prenatally and when used with perinatal fathers; thus the tool is also known as the Edinburgh Depression Scale (EDS). However, there have been no published psychometric data on versions of the EPDS adapted for screening Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. We describe the development of ‘translations’ of the EPDS and report their basic psychometric properties.

Method: During the Queensland arm of the beyondblue National Postnatal Depression Program (2001–2005), partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women were forged. At TAIHS’ stand alone “Mums and Babies” unit 181 women of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent were recruited into the study through their antenatal and postnatal visits and 25 were recruited at Mt Isa. Participants completed either the translation or the standard version of the EPDS both antenatally and postnatally.

Results: The ‘translations’ of the EPDS demonstrated a high level of reliability. The was a strong correlation between the ‘translations’ and the EPDS. The ‘translations’ and the standard EPDS both identified high rates of women at risk of depression although the ‘translations’ identified higher rates.

Conclusion: We argue that the ‘translation’ may have been a more accurate predictor of perinatal women at risk for depression, but acknowledge that a lack of validity evidence weakens this conclusion.

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