To examine the prevalence of perinatal depression and the risk factors and related variables affecting the occurrence of depression in a group of diverse, low-income women. The study contrasted the relationship between socio-demographic variables, depression, self-esteem, self-efficacy, maternal confidence, social support, and stress.
A descriptive, correlational design incorporating qualitative and quantitative research methods.
A health department in Southeast North Carolina.
A convenience sample of 60, low-income mothers participating in the prenatal program at the health department were surveyed during the third trimester of their pregnancies and again between 6 and 8 weeks following birth.
Focus groups were used to explore perceptions and experiences during the perinatal period. In addition, participants completed a demographic questionnaire, Beck Depression Inventory, Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale, Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, General Self-Efficacy Scale, Stress Scale, Maternal Confidence Questionnaire, and the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support.
The mean age of the participants was 25.4 years, 50.8% had completed some college/college degree, and 26.2% reported past history of depression. Of the sample, the majority were White (52.5%), 27.9% Black, and 19.7% Hispanic. A majority of the participants (60.7%) scored above 10 on the Beck Depression Inventory during the third trimester whereas 44.2% scored above 10 on the Beck Depression Inventory at 6 to 8 weeks postpartum. Moderate depression was reported by 24.6% of the participants during the third trimester of pregnancy and 13.4% reported moderate depression at 6 to 8 weeks postpartum. There were significant positive correlations between the Beck Depression Inventory and Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale at both time periods (r = .582, p = .000 and r = 0.738, p = .000). There were no significant differences in mean depression scores across ethnic groups for either time period (F = 0.997, p = .375; F = 0.051, p = .950). There were significant negative correlations between depression level, self-esteem, and social support and age and general self-efficacy. There were significant positive correlations between self-esteem, social support, and self-efficacy.
Conclusion/Implications for Nursing Practice
Study results demonstrated that there were no significant differences in depression levels across ethnic groups, however participants overall reported significantly higher depression levels in the third trimester of pregnancy as compared with 6 to 8 weeks postpartum. These findings support the need for heightened assessment and management of depression not only after delivery, but also during pregnancy. In addition, self-reports of mood changes before pregnancy were significantly related to depression scores during the third trimester of pregnancy and at 6 to 8 weeks postpartum.