Validation of the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale on a cohort of South African women

S Afr Med J. 1998 Oct;88(10):1340-4.


Postnatal depression occurs in 10-15% of women. The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) is a 10-item self-report scale designed specifically as a screening instrument for the postnatal period. It was initially validated for use in the UK, but has subsequently been validated for other communities. It has not been validated for an African community.

Objective: To determine whether the EPDS is a valid screening scale for depression in a Johannesburg community cohort.

Participants and setting: 103 women attending the postnatal clinic at Coronation Hospital, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Method: The EPDS was validated against the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV) criteria for depression. It was administered verbally to participants and translated into one of six South African languages where necessary.

Results: A threshold of 11/12 on the EPDS identified 100% of women with major depression and 70.6% of women with minor depression. For major and minor depression combined, sensitivity was 80%, specificity 76.6%, positive predictive value 52.6% and negative predictive value 92.2%.

Conclusion: The EPDS, administered verbally, is a valid screening instrument in this urban South African community.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cohort Studies
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Depression, Postpartum / diagnosis*
  • Depression, Postpartum / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pilot Projects
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / standards*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Surveys and Questionnaires