Outcome of a postnatal depression screening programme using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale: a randomized controlled trial

J Public Health (Oxf). 2011 Jun;33(2):292-301. doi: 10.1093/pubmed/fdq075. Epub 2010 Sep 29.


Background: There is a lack of evidence on the effectiveness of postnatal depression (PND) screening programmes in reducing morbidity. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a PND screening programme using Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) in improving maternal mental health.

Methods: The randomized controlled trial design was used. Participants were 462 Chinese mothers with 2-month-old babies visiting Maternal and Child Health Centres in Hong Kong. Participants in the intervention group were screened for PND using the EPDS, whereas those in the control group were screened by clinical assessment. In both groups, participants identified with PND were offered follow-up management according to protocol.

Results: Participants in the intervention group had better maternal mental health outcome as assessed by EPDS at 6 months (risk ratio: 0.59; 95% confidence interval: 0.39-0.89). The number needed to screen was 25.

Conclusions: A PND screening programme comprising the use of EPDS as the screening tool and the provision of follow-up care had resulted in an improvement in maternal mental health at 6 months.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00251342.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Depression, Postpartum / diagnosis*
  • Depression, Postpartum / epidemiology
  • Depression, Postpartum / therapy
  • Diagnostic Self Evaluation
  • Female
  • Hong Kong / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Intention to Treat Analysis
  • Maternal-Child Health Centers
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Nurses
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00251342