Predictors of Postpartum Depression Among Immigrant Women in the Year After Childbirth

Rebecca Ganann, Wendy Sword, Lehana Thabane, Bruce Newbold, Margaret Black
Journal of Women's Health 2016, 25 (2): 155-65

BACKGROUND: Immigrant women are at increased risk for postpartum depression (PPD). The factors that influence PPD among immigrant women are poorly understood. The purpose of this study was to identify individual- and community-level factors predictive of PPD among immigrant women living in a large Ontario city at 6 weeks, 6 months, and 1 year postpartum.

METHODS: The study involved a secondary analysis of a prospective cohort study, The Ontario Mother and Infant Study 3. This study included 519 immigrant women who were recruited from two hospitals in one urban city and delivered full-term singleton infants. Women completed a written questionnaire in hospital, followed by structured telephone interviews at 6 weeks, 6 months, and 1 year after hospital discharge. Generalized estimating equations were used to explore factors associated with PPD, measured using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) and two thresholds for depression (≥12 and ≥9).

RESULTS: Rates of PPD at all time points were 8%-10% for EPDS scores of ≥12. For EPDS scores of ≥9, rates of PPD more than doubled at all time points. A lack of social support was strongly associated with PPD in all analyses. Living in Canada for ≤2 years, poor perceptions of health, and lower mental health functioning were other important predictors of PPD. Living in communities with a high prevalence of immigrants and low income also was associated with PPD.

CONCLUSIONS: Complex individual and community-level factors are associated with PPD in immigrant women. Understanding these contextual factors can inform a multifaceted approach to addressing PPD.

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