Social support, life events, and depression during pregnancy and the puerperium

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1986 Jun;43(6):569-73. doi: 10.1001/archpsyc.1986.01800060063008.


A sample of 99 women was studied prospectively from the second trimester of pregnancy until nine weeks post partum. Depressed and nondepressed women identified at the second-trimester assessment and the postpartum assessment were compared on measures of stressful life events and social support provided by their spouses and close confidants. Nine percent of women during pregnancy and 12% of women after delivery were depressed. Women experiencing postpartum depression reported more stressful life events and less support from their spouses after delivery than the women not experiencing postpartum depression. Women experiencing depression during pregnancy reported somewhat less support from their spouses and more support from their confidants than nondepressed women. The results of the study suggest that different causes may be responsible for prepartum and postpartum depression.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events*
  • Marriage
  • Personality Inventory
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / diagnosis*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Puerperal Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Social Environment*
  • Social Support*