Controlled prospective study of postpartum mood disorders: comparison of childbearing and nonchildbearing women

J Abnorm Psychol. 1990 Feb;99(1):3-15. doi: 10.1037//0021-843x.99.1.3.


A controlled prospective study was undertaken to determine the extent to which pregnancy and the puerperium are associated with increased risk for minor and major depression, depressive symptom-atology, and poor social adjustment. A large sample of childbearing (CB) women were recruited during the second trimester of pregnancy along with an equal sized, matched sample of nonchild-bearing (NCB) women. Ss were assessed multiple times during pregnancy and after delivery by questionnaire and through personal interview on measures of depression and other mood states and marital and social adjustment. There were no differences between CB and NCB Ss with respect to rates of minor and major depression during pregnancy or after delivery. However, CB women experienced significantly higher levels of depressive symptomatology and poor social adjustment than NCB women during late pregnancy and the early puerperium.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iowa
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / epidemiology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Puerperal Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Social Adjustment