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The relationship between social support in pregnancy and postnatal depression

Taylor, Billie Lever; Nath, Selina; Sokolova, Antoaneta Y; Lewis, Gemma; Howard, Louise M; Johnson, Sonia; Sweeney, Angela; (2022) The relationship between social support in pregnancy and postnatal depression. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology 10.1007/s00127-022-02269-z. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

PURPOSE: Lack of social support is considered a potential risk factor for postnatal depression but limited longitudinal evidence is available. Pregnancy, when women have increased contact with healthcare services, may be an opportune time to intervene and help strengthen women's social networks to prevent feelings of depression postnatally, particularly for those at greatest risk. Our study examined the longitudinal relationship between social support in pregnancy and postnatal depression, and whether this is moderated by age or relationship status. METHODS: We analysed data collected from 525 women from a diverse inner-city maternity population in England who were interviewed in pregnancy and again three months postnatally. Women provided sociodemographic information and completed self-report measures of depression (Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale) and social support (Social Provisions Scale). RESULTS: Less social support in pregnancy was associated with postnatal depression, after adjusting for sociodemographic confounders and antenatal depression (Coef. = - 0.05; 95% CI - 0.10 to - 0.01; p = 0.02). There was weak evidence of a moderating effect of relationship status. Subgroup analysis showed a stronger relationship between social support in pregnancy and postnatal depression for women who were not living with a partner (Coef. =  - 0.11; 95% CI - 0.21 to - 0.01; p = 0.03) than for those who were (Coef. =  - 0.03; 95% CI - 0.09 to 0.02; p = 0.28). Sensitivity analysis using multiple imputations to account for missing data confirmed the main results. CONCLUSIONS: Interventions that target social support in pregnancy have the potential to reduce depression postnatally. Future research should explore in greater detail which women would benefit most from which type of social support.

Type: Article
Title: The relationship between social support in pregnancy and postnatal depression
Location: Germany
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s00127-022-02269-z
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00127-022-02269-z
Language: English
Additional information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Keywords: Mental health, Perinatal, Postnatal depression, Quantitative, Service users, Social support
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10147554
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