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Variables such as the mother's personality, social support, coping strategies and stressful events have been described as risk factors for postpartum depression. Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) analysis was used to examine whether neuroticism, perceived social support, perceived life events, and coping strategies are associated with postpartum depressive symptoms at the 8th and 32nd weeks.
A total of 1626 pregnant women participated in a longitudinal study. Different evaluations were performed 8 and 32 weeks after delivery. Several measures were used: the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS), the Diagnostic Interview for Genetic Studies (DIGS), the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ-RS), the St. Paul Ramsey life events scale and the Duke-UNC Functional Social Support Questionnaire. The brief COPE scale was used to measure coping strategies. SEM analysis was conducted for all women and in those women with a clinical diagnosis of postpartum depression.
Passive coping strategies were associated with postpartum depressive symptoms at both visits (8th and 32nd weeks). Neuroticism was associated with more passive coping strategies and less active coping strategies. Neuroticism and life stress were positively correlated, and social support was negatively correlated with life stress and neuroticism.
Early identification of potential risk for symptomatology of depression postpartum should include assessment of neuroticism, life events, social support and coping strategies.
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