Prospective investigation of postpartum depression: factors involved in onset and recovery

J Abnorm Psychol. 1991 May;100(2):122-32. doi: 10.1037//0021-843x.100.2.122.


We examined the role of a number of psychosocial variables in the onset of postpartum depression and in recovery from depression that occurs during pregnancy. Women (N = 730) were recruited during pregnancy and were followed through 1 month postpartum. They were assessed on demographic variables and on measures of depressive symptomatology and diagnostic status, perceived stress, marital satisfaction, perceptions of their own parents, dysfunctional cognitions, and coping style. Onset of depression in the postpartum was predicted by the levels during pregnancy of depressive symptomatology and perceived maternal and paternal care during childhood. In contrast, recovery in the postpartum from depression during pregnancy was not predicted by the variables examined in this study. These results are discussed with reference to previous investigations that have examined depression that occurs outside the context of childbirth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cognition
  • Depressive Disorder / etiology*
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder / therapy
  • Family / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Marriage / psychology
  • Middle Aged
  • Mothers / psychology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / etiology
  • Pregnancy Complications / psychology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Puerperal Disorders / etiology*
  • Puerperal Disorders / psychology
  • Puerperal Disorders / therapy
  • Regression Analysis
  • Stress, Psychological / complications