Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UI study: low-income women more likely to suffer from postpartum depression

21.02.2008
Poor women in Iowa are much more likely to suffer from postpartum depression than their wealthier counterparts, a new University of Iowa study shows.

In the study of 4,332 new mothers from four Iowa counties, UI psychologist Lisa Segre found that 40 percent of Iowa mothers with a household income less than $20,000 suffered from clinically significant postpartum depression. In contrast, only 13 percent of new mothers with a household income of $80,000 or more were considered clinically depressed.

The study was recently published in the journal Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology. The mothers completed the Inventory to Diagnose Depression and sociodemographic interviews in the late 1990s; on average, participants had given birth 4.6 months prior to the survey.

"Forty percent of Iowa's lowest-income mothers are facing the double burden of being depressed and being poor," said Segre, adjunct assistant professor and research scientist in psychology, a department in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

"Women who are poor already have a lot of stress, ranging from poor living conditions to concerns about paying the bills. The birth of an infant can represent additional financial and emotional stress, and depression negatively impacts the woman's ability to cope with these already difficult circumstances."

In a second study on race and postpartum emotions in Iowa, Segre found that African-American mothers are more likely than white mothers to experience depressed moods immediately after giving birth, but Latina mothers are less likely to experience depressed moods.

The data came from the Iowa Barriers to Prenatal Care Project Survey, a project funded by the Iowa Department of Public Health and directed by Mary Losch at the University of Northern Iowa's Center for Social and Behavioral Research. The survey, given to mothers in the maternity wards of Iowa hospitals, asks whether they felt sad or miserable much of the time over the previous two weeks. The study, which included responses from 26,877 English-speaking mothers who completed the survey in 2001-02, was published in the Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology.

Segre explained: "Other research indicates that strong social support can serve as a buffer against postpartum depression, and that poor social support is a major predictor of postpartum depression. Past studies have also shown that Latina mothers tend to have more social support, while African-American women tend to have weaker support networks." Segre speculates that these ethnic differences in social support might account for racial differences in the rate of depressed moods during the postpartum period.

Considered together, the results of both studies highlight the increased risk of postpartum depression among low-income and African-American women, and the need for early identification programs. Segre and UI Psychology Professor Michael O'Hara, a co-author of the studies, are therefore taking their research to the next logical step by working to help mothers suffering from postpartum depression.

The professors partnered with Healthy Start in Des Moines -- a federally funded program that educates and supports families in areas with infant mortality rates above the national average -- to teach caseworkers and nurses to screen new mothers for depression. After Healthy Start began screening, social service agencies across the state wanted the professors' help implementing a screening process. In two years, Segre and O'Hara have trained 31 representatives to screen new mothers for depression; in turn, the representatives trained dozens more at their agencies.

Understanding that screening for depression is only the first step toward helping the mothers, Segre and O'Hara are also implementing and evaluating a new intervention for depressed mothers participating in the Des Moines Healthy Start program: "listening visits." The visits give mildly to moderately depressed mothers an opportunity to talk through problems with a caseworker or nurse. Modeled after the United Kingdom's "health visitors," the intervention allows mothers to work collaboratively with a professional they already know and trust, removing barriers to mental health treatment like cost, waiting lists, stigma or lack of providers, Segre said.

"A listening visitor is not a trained psychologist, but sometimes just having someone take the time to sit down and take a keen interest in what's going on with your life is enough," Segre said. "I'm not saying the listening visits are the cure-all, but for mild to moderate depression, they're a good start. And even if women need more treatment beyond the listening visits, our hope is that the listening visits will serve as an ice-breaker, helping women feel more comfortable with the idea of mental health treatment."

In 2005, a British health visitor came to Iowa to teach Healthy Start staff to conduct listening visits. The staff is making more and more use of the visits, Segre said. "It's a big change from not providing any mental health care, to providing screening and referral, and then to also providing in-home listening visits," she said. "It takes a while to feel comfortable doing that."

Segre recently received a five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health to evaluate the effectiveness and acceptability of listening visits in the United States. She will travel to Des Moines to interview participating mothers from Healthy Start before and after their listening visits.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

Nicole Riehl | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uiowa.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Real-time feedback helps save energy and water
08.02.2017 | Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Viruses support photosynthesis in bacteria – an evolutionary advantage?

23.02.2017 | Life Sciences

Researchers pave the way for ionotronic nanodevices

23.02.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Microhotplates for a smart gas sensor

22.02.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>