The prevalence of depressive symptoms in the prepartum and postpartum period : a study of low-income women in the Western Cape, South Africa
Thesis (MA (Psychology))--University of Stellenbosch, 2006.
This study aimed to determine whether low-income women residing in a rural community in South Africa experienced any significant difference in the prevalence rates of depressive symptoms postpartum as compared to depressive symptoms prepartum. Thirty women between the ages of 16 and 38 were recruited during pregnancy from the local community clinic in Kylemore, South Africa. The women where assessed for elevated levels of depressive symptomatology using the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) during pregnancy and again at three and six months postpartum. It was found that 18 (60%) of the women reported elevated levels of depressive symptomatology during the prepartum assessment, with 11 (37.9%) and 12 (48%) women reporting elevated levels of depressive symptomatology at the three months and six month postpartum assessment respectively. It was further found that the sample from the current study did not experience any significant difference in the rate of depressive symptomatology from the prepartum assessment to either of the postpartum assessments. The results also suggests that a relationship exists between the levels of depressive symptomatology prepartum and the levels of depressive symptomatology postpartum, as those women who experienced high levels of depressive symptomatology during pregnancy continued to show high levels of depressive symptomatology at the postpartum assessments. The findings from the current study thus suggest that the classification of postpartum depression as a unique and separate entity, that differs from depression occurring in women at other times and from depression as experienced by men, may be misleading. The term suggests a depression that develops following childbirth, while in the current study it seemed that when depressive symptoms were reported postpartum, they were also already apparent during pregnancy. The findings from the current study therefore suggest that the existence of postpartum depression as a distinct diagnosis or illness is problematic – a suggestion that has frequently been suggested in the literature (Aderibigbe, Gureje, & Omigbodun, 1993; Chandran, Tharyan, Muliyil & Abraham, 2002; Cooper, Campbell, Day, Kennerly & Bond, 1988; Cox, Murray & Chapman, 1993; O’Hara, Zekoski, Phillips & Wright, 1990; Patel, Rodrigues, & DeSouza, 2002).