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Post-partum depression and the mother-infant relationship in a South African peri-urban settlement

  • Peter J. Cooper (a1), Mark Tomlinson (a2), Leslie Swartz (a3), Matthew Woolgar (a1), Lynne Murray (a1) and Christopher Molteno (a2)...

Abstract

Background

Post-partum depression in the developing world has received tittle research attention, and its association with disturbances in the mother–infant relationship is unknown.

Aims

To determine the prevalence of post-partum depression and associated disturbances in the mother–infant relationship in Khayelitsha, a South African peri-urban settlement.

Method

The mental state of 147 women who had delivered two months previously was assessed, and the quality of their engagement with their infants was determined.

Results

The point prevalence of DSM–IV major depression was found to be 34.7%. Maternal depression was associated with poor emotional and practical support from the partner. It was also associated with insensitive engagement with the infants.

Conclusions

The rate of post-partum depression in Khayelitsha was around three times that found in British post-partum samples, and these depressions were strongly associated with disturbances in the mother–infant relationship.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Professor Peter Cooper, Winnicott Research Unit, Department of Psychology, The University of Reading, Whiteknights, Reading RG6 6AL

Footnotes

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Declaration of interest

This study was conducted with the support of the Wellcome Trust.

Footnotes

References

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Post-partum depression and the mother-infant relationship in a South African peri-urban settlement

  • Peter J. Cooper (a1), Mark Tomlinson (a2), Leslie Swartz (a3), Matthew Woolgar (a1), Lynne Murray (a1) and Christopher Molteno (a2)...

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Post-partum depression and the mother-infant relationship in a South African peri-urban settlement

  • Peter J. Cooper (a1), Mark Tomlinson (a2), Leslie Swartz (a3), Matthew Woolgar (a1), Lynne Murray (a1) and Christopher Molteno (a2)...
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