New research has indicated that depression is common in postpartum, low-income, urban mothers.
The study led by University of Rochester Medical Center researchers has been published online by the journal Pediatrics.
This is the first study to describe the prevalence of depression among low-income urban mothers, who were attending well-child care visits, through the use of a diagnostic interview. It also is the first study of this population group to test the accuracy of three depression screening tools routinely used by physicians.
The screening tools have high accuracy in identifying depression, the researchers concluded, but cutoff scores may need to be altered to identify depression more accurately among low-income urban mothers.
The study involved 198 mothers who were 18 years of age or older and whose children were no older than 14 months. The mothers attended well-child visits at the outpatient pediatric clinic at Golisano Children's Hospital at the Medical Center.
The researchers found that 56 percent of the mothers, after a diagnostic interview, met the criteria for a diagnosis of a major or minor depressive disorder.
"This is an unexpected, very high proportion to meet diagnostic criteria for depression," said Linda H. Chaudron, M.D., associate professor of Psychology, Pediatrics and of Obstetrics and Gynecology. "This may be a group at high risk for depression. The message of this study is that pediatricians and other clinicians who work with low-income urban mothers have multiple screening tools that are easy to use and accurate. These tools can help clinicians identify mothers with depression so they can be referred for help."