Background: Few studies have explored the influence of postpartum depression on later life among mothers in Taiwan. The present follow-up study aims to explore the effects of postpartum depression on the psychosocial health of mothers and on the overall development of their infants.
Methods: Follow-up evaluations were carried out on 29 postnatally depressed and 31 nondepressed mothers and their infants at 1 year after childbirth. Dependent variables were measured by means of five structured questionnaires.
Results: Postnatally depressed mothers reported significantly higher perceived stress, but lower social support and self-esteem than nondepressed mothers at 1 year after childbirth. The participants' postpartum depression had no significant effect on their infants' eight developmental areas, nor did depression influence their plans about the number of children to have in the future.
Conclusions: Postpartum depression may have a negative influence on the psychosocial health of women, but it does not appear to influence the overall development of their infants and their family planning.