Background: One out of eight women suffers an episode of depression following delivery. We explored the role of expectations of partner support in postpartum depressive symptoms in new mothers attending a regional public hospital in Italy.
Methods: Seventy women participated in a two-stage (third trimester and 3 months postpartum) prospective study using self-report measures. At stage 1, they completed the Support Expectations Index to measure expectations for partner support and the Dyadic Adjustment Scale to measure conflicts in marital relationship, whereas socio-demographic (i.e. maternal age and education level) and clinical variables (i.e. previous miscarriages and depression episodes) were collected from medical reports. Depressive symptoms were evaluated at stage 2 with the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale using a cut-off >9 and confirmation of marital support expectations was measured with the Expectancy Confirmation Scale. Stepwise logistic regression analysis was used to examine predictors of depressive symptoms at 3 months postpartum.
Results and discussion: As many as 55.7% (n = 39) of new mothers presented postpartum depressive symptoms, which were predicted by low expectancy confirmation concerning partner support [odds ratio (OR) 3.02; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.25-8.10]. Therefore, clinicians should consider the possible role of partner support when treating women with postnatal depressive symptoms.