Psychosocial Correlates of Depression Symptoms During the Third Trimester of Pregnancy


Address for correspondence: Kathie Records, PhD, RN, Arizona State University, 500 North 3rd Street, Phoenix, AZ 85004. E-mail:


Objective:  To explore the psychosocial correlates of depression symptoms during the third trimester of pregnancy.

Design:  Cross-sectional design guided by Selye’s theory of stress.

Setting:  Prenatal care provider offices or mutually agreeable locations in the Pacific Northwest.

Participants:  One hundred thirty-nine women in their third trimester of pregnancy. The majority was Caucasian and married. Fifty-two of the participants (38%) had scores greater than or equal to 16 on the Centers for Epidemiologic Studies Depressed Mood Scale.

Main Outcome Measure:  The Centers for Epidemiologic Studies Depressed Mood Scale.

Results:  Stepwise linear regression indicated that 46% of the variance of third-trimester depressive symptoms was due to brief and intermittent negative mood states that occurred primarily during the first trimester, a lack of marital satisfaction and social support, and gravida. Lifetime abuse did not contribute significantly to third-trimester depression symptoms.

Conclusions:  One third of the sample reported subclinical levels of depression symptoms. Prenatal care providers may want to consider these minor and brief mood changes as predictive of depression symptoms later in pregnancy, particularly when experienced during the first trimester. JOGNN, 36, 231-242; 2007. DOI: 10.1111/J.1552-6909.2007. 00140.x