Background: Epidemiological evidence regarding the associations of employment, income, and education with the risk of postpartum depression is inconsistent. This prospective study investigated the association between employment, type of job, household income, and educational level and the risk of postpartum depression.
Methods: Subjects were 771 Japanese women. Postpartum depression was defined as present when subjects had an Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale score of 9 or higher between 3 and 4 months postpartum. Adjustment was made for age, gestation, parity, cigarette smoking, family structure, medical problems during pregnancy, baby's sex, and baby's birth weight.
Results: The prevalence of postpartum depression was 13.8%. Compared with unemployment, employment was significantly associated with a reduced risk of postpartum depression: the adjusted OR was 0.55 (95% CI: 0.32-0.91). When employment was classified into 2 categories, full-time, but not part-time, employment was independently inversely associated with postpartum depression: the adjusted OR was 0.52 (95% CI: 0.26-0.96). Regarding the type of job held, women with a professional or technical job had a significantly reduced risk of postpartum depression: the adjusted OR was 0.29 (95% CI: 0.09-0.72). Clerical or related occupation and other occupations including sales, service, production, and construction were not associated with postpartum depression. There were no relationships between household income or maternal and paternal educational levels and postpartum depression.
Limitations: Personal and family psychiatric history, sociocultural factors, and personal and family relations were not controlled for.
Conclusions: Employment, especially full-time employment and holding a professional or technical job, may reduce the risk of postpartum depression.
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