Comparative Study
Controlled Clinical Trial
Journal Article
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Screening for postpartum depression in a pediatric emergency department.

OBJECTIVE: The objective was to determine whether a 3-question version of the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale (EPDS) performs as well as the full EPDS in screening for postpartum depression in a pediatric emergency department (PED).

METHODS: Mothers of infants younger than 6 months presenting to an urban PED were enrolled. After the PED encounter, mothers were asked about demographics, health problems, insurance status, social support, food and housing security, and 3 questions from the EPDS. Mothers then completed the full EPDS. The primary outcome was the score on the full EPDS. Agreement between the 3 questions and the full EPDS for screening positive was measured. Test performance characteristics for screening positive with the 3 questions were calculated. Logistic regression determined the association between sociodemographic characteristics and screening positive. Provider impression of maternal depressive symptoms was recorded.

RESULTS: Of 195 mothers enrolled, 23% screened positive using the EPDS; 34% screened positive using the 3 questions (κ = 0.74). Compared with the EPDS, sensitivity of the 3 questions was 100%. Number of children younger than 5 years at home and having food and housing concerns were associated with screening positive. Of 44 mothers who screened positive on the full EPDS, providers identified 14 (32%) as having depressive symptoms or possibly being depressed.

CONCLUSIONS: Three questions from the EPDS performed similarly to the full EPDS in screening for postpartum depressive symptoms in a PED. Future studies are needed to confirm these findings and examine whether screening improves maternal and child health outcomes and quality-of-life concerns.

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