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, 18 (3), 539-46

Personality and Risk for Postpartum Depressive Symptoms

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Personality and Risk for Postpartum Depressive Symptoms

S I Iliadis et al. Arch Womens Ment Health.

Abstract

Postpartum depression (PPD) is a common childbirth complication, affecting 10-15 % of newly delivered mothers. This study aims to assess the association between personality factors and PPD. All pregnant women during the period September 2009 to September 2010, undergoing a routine ultrasound at Uppsala University Hospital, were invited to participate in the BASIC study, a prospective study designed to investigate maternal well-being. Depressive symptoms were assessed with the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) while the Depression Self-Rating Scale (DSRS) was used as a diagnostic tool for major depression. Personality traits were evaluated using the Swedish Universities Scale of Personality (SSP). One thousand thirty-seven non-depressed pregnant women were included in the study. Non-depressed women reporting high levels of neuroticism in late pregnancy were at high risk of developing postpartum depressive symptoms (PPDSs) at 6 weeks and 6 months after delivery, even after adjustment for confounders (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 3.4, 95 % confidence interval (CI) 1.8-6.5 and adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 3.9, 95 % CI 1.9-7.9). The same was true for a DSRS-based diagnosis of major depression at 6 months postpartum. Somatic trait anxiety and psychic trait anxiety were associated with increased risk for PPDS at 6 weeks (aOR = 2.1, 95 % CI 1.2-3.5 and aOR = 1.9, 95 % CI 1.1-3.1), while high scores of mistrust were associated with a twofold increased risk for PPDS at 6 months postpartum (aOR 1.9, 95 % CI 1.1-3.4). Non-depressed pregnant women with high neuroticism scores have an almost fourfold increased risk to develop depressive symptoms postpartum, and the association remains robust even after controlling for most known confounders. Clinically, this could be of importance for health care professionals working with pregnant and newly delivered women.

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