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Publication Date

June 1, 2004


Journal Article

Factors Related to Postpartum Depressive Symptoms in Low-Income Women

By Boury J, Larkin K, Krummel D


Objective: This study examined the relationship of depressive symptoms to psychosocial and lifestyle variables in postpartum women.

Design: The Mothers‘ Overweight Management Study (MOMS) was a randomized, weight-gain prevention trial. Baseline data are presented on the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), Perceived Stress Scale, Social Support Questionnaire, smoking status, body weight, waist circumference, and step counts.

Subjects/Setting: The study was conducted at the Special Supplemental Feeding Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Women (N = 151) had to be over the age of 18 years and have a child under two years of age to participate.

Results: Fifty-one percent of the women (mean age = 27 years; mean of 30 weeks postpartum) reported depressive symptoms (27% mild, 21% moderate, and 3% severe). Overall, stress scores were high (Mean = 27.2) and activity levels low (Mean steps = 5984). Mean body mass index was 30.2. Neither body weight nor steps walked were related to depressive symptoms in the bivariate or regression analyses. However, stress and social support were related to symptoms. Women without symptoms reported significantly less stress than the mild and moderate/ severe symptom groups (Means = 23.4, 29.6, and 32.7, respectively, p <.001). Mean social support satisfaction was significantly higher for non-depressed women compared to women in the moderate/severe symptom range (Means = 5.9 and 4.7 respectively, p <.001). Stress and current smoking status explained 46% of the variance in depressive symptoms.

Conclusions: These data emphasize the need for stress management and other tools such as increasing activity levels to prevent or lessen depressive symptoms.

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Date Added
March 19, 2018

Boury J, Larkin K, Krummel D (2004) Factors Related to Postpartum Depressive Symptoms in Low-Income Women. Women's Health: Vol. 39, Issue 3, pp. 19-34. Available online: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1300/J013v39n03_02