Objectives: This study investigates the impact on different postpartum depressive trajectories (i.e., "non depressive symptoms", "stable depressive symptoms", "deterioration" and "improvement") from 5-17 months after childbirth exerted by emotional support that mothers receive from their partners and emotional support they provide to their partners.
Methods: Postpartum depressive symptoms were assessed using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale 5 and 17 months after delivery in a sample of 293 mothers. Emotional support received from the partners was assessed among both mothers and partners.
Results: The initial level and the change in emotional support that mothers received from their partners were related to different trajectories of postpartum depressive symptoms. Mothers who were living in a partnership with low reciprocal emotional support showed a significantly higher risk of suffering from "stable depressive symptoms" than mothers who were living in a partnership with high reciprocal emotional support.
Conclusions: An increased risk of persistent depressive symptoms beyond the early postpartum period was observed in mothers with poor reciprocal emotional support in the partnership. Further research is needed for a better understanding of the mothers persistent depressive symptoms after childbirth associated with reciprocity of emotional support in the partnership.