Objectives: This article examines the associations between protective factors und the occurrence of postpartum depressive symptoms.
Methods: Using a prospective-longitudinal design 303 pregnant women were examined at 3 points in time (T1: 1st trimester, T2: 3rd trimester, T3: 3-5 months postpartum). The analyses are based on T1 and T3.
Results: Sense of coherence (SOC-L9, Schumacher et al. 2000) at 1st trimester was on average 51.7 (SD = 7.2) - significantly above the mean of a comparison sample. 37 women (15.4 %) had a score of 10 or more on the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS, Cox et al. 1987) 3 to 5 months postpartum. Pregnant women who stated that their pregnancy had been planned and desired, with a higher marital and overall life satisfaction as well as a higher sense of coherence, had a significantly lower risk for the development of postpartum depression. Using multiple regression it was found that only sense of coherence significantly predicted postpartum depression.
Conclusions: The results suggest that a higher sense of coherence at first trimester is an important protective factor for the occurrence of postpartum depression.