Racial differences in the prevalence of antenatal depression

Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2011 Mar-Apr;33(2):87-93. doi: 10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2010.11.012. Epub 2011 Jan 31.


Objective: This study examined whether there were racial/ethnic differences in the prevalence of antenatal depression based on Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, diagnostic criteria in a community-based sample of pregnant women.

Method: Data were drawn from an ongoing registry of pregnant women receiving prenatal care at a university obstetric clinic from January 2004 through March 2010 (N =1997). Logistic regression models adjusting for sociodemographic, psychiatric, behavioral and clinical characteristics were used to examine racial/ethnic differences in antenatal depression as measured by the Patient Health Questionnaire.

Results: Overall, 5.1% of the sample reported antenatal depression. Blacks and Asian/Pacific Islanders were at increased risk for antenatal depression compared to non-Hispanic White women. This increased risk of antenatal depression among Blacks and Asian/Pacific Islanders remained after adjustment for a variety of risk factors.

Conclusion: Results suggest the importance of race/ethnicity as a risk factor for antenatal depression. Prevention and treatment strategies geared toward the mental health needs of Black and Asian/Pacific Islander women are needed to reduce the racial/ethnic disparities in antenatal depression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Depression / ethnology*
  • Female
  • Health Status Disparities*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Care / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult