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 miser
|Contact: Nicole Riehl|
University of Iowa