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Postnatal depression across countries and cultures: a qualitative study

  • Margaret R. Oates (a1), John L. Cox (a2), Stella Neema (a3), Paul Asten (a4), Nine Glangeaud-Freudenthal (a5), Barbara Figueiredo (a6), Laura L. Gorman (a7), Sue Hacking (a8), Emma Hirst (a9), Martin H. Kammerer (a10), Claudia M. Klier (a11), Gertrude Seneviratne (a12), Mary Smith (a13), Anne-Laure Sutter-Dallay (a14), Vania Valoriani (a15), Birgitta Wickberg (a16), Keiko Yoshida (a17) and TCS–PND Group...

Abstract

Background

Postnatal depression seems to be a universal condition with similar rates in different countries. However, anthropologists question the cross-cultural equivalence of depression, particularly at a life stage so influenced by cultural factors.

Aims

To develop a qualitative method to explore whether postnatal depression is universally recognised, attributed and described and to enquire into people's perceptions of remedies and services for morbid states of unhappiness within the context of local services.

Method

The study took place in 15 centres in 11 countries and drew on three groups of informants: focus groups with new mothers, interview swith fathers and grandmothers, and interviews with health professionals. Textual analysis of these three groups was conducted separately in each centre and emergent themes compared across centres.

Results

All centres described morbid unhappiness after childbirth comparable to postnatal depression but not all saw this as an illness remediable by health interventions.

Conclusions

Although the findings of this study support the universality of a morbid state of unhappiness following childbirth, they also support concerns about the cross-cultural equivalence of postnatal depression as an illness requiring the intervention of health professionals; this has implications for future research.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Dr Margaret Oates, Division of Psychiatry, A Floor South Block, Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham NH7 2UH, UK. E-mail: margaret.oates@nottingham.ac.uk

Footnotes

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TCS–PND Group membership and funding detailed in Acknowledgements, p. iv, this supplement.

Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes

References

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Postnatal depression across countries and cultures: a qualitative study

  • Margaret R. Oates (a1), John L. Cox (a2), Stella Neema (a3), Paul Asten (a4), Nine Glangeaud-Freudenthal (a5), Barbara Figueiredo (a6), Laura L. Gorman (a7), Sue Hacking (a8), Emma Hirst (a9), Martin H. Kammerer (a10), Claudia M. Klier (a11), Gertrude Seneviratne (a12), Mary Smith (a13), Anne-Laure Sutter-Dallay (a14), Vania Valoriani (a15), Birgitta Wickberg (a16), Keiko Yoshida (a17) and TCS–PND Group...
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