Introduction: Postpartum depression (PPD) affects women in various sociocultural environments around the world during a sensitive period of their lives. The purpose of this study was to investigate the prevalence and time course of PPD in a Greek urban environment as well as possible relations of PPD with certain clinical and sociodemographic factors.
Method: The study was performed on a sample of 402 women that were recruited from a university obstetric clinic in Athens, Greece, during the first 24 hours after delivery. The women completed the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale through telephone interviews. The telephone interviews were conducted the first week as well as the first, third, and sixth month after delivery. The first day after delivery, all women completed the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale, the List of Threatening Experience, the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, the Whitley Index, the Schalling-Sifneos Personality Scale, and the Maudsley Obsessive-Compulsive Inventory. In addition, the Blues Questionnaire was administered the first 3 days and the seventh day after delivery. Other clinical and sociodemographic data were obtained through questionnaires and personal interviews.
Results: A cutoff point of 12 in the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale was used to define PPD. Eighty (19.8%) of the women in the sample experienced PPD during the first 6 months after delivery. The development of PPD was related significantly to the following factors: stressful events during pregnancy (P = .01), maternity blues on the seventh day after delivery (P = .01), obsessive preoccupation with cleaning (P = .04), and judgment that the baby is crying excessively at the first month interview (P = .02).
Conclusion: The women's emotional condition before and after delivery, obsessionality, and difficulties in regulating the infant's emotions appear to contribute to the development of PPD during the first 6 months after delivery.