New Report Focuses on Maternal Depression

Among participants receiving MIECHV-funded home visiting, perceived stress is one of the highest risk factors for depression, regardless of sociodemographic factors, drug and alcohol abuse, domestic partner violence, or the mother’s history of childhood abuse — that’s the key finding in a new report by the Lawton & Rhea Chiles Center at the University of South Florida College of Public Health, the state programpostpartum-depression evaluator. The MIECHV 2015 Maternal Depression Analysis Report notes the strong positive relationship between stress and depression. The analysis suggests that the more stress a person feels in her life the greater her chances of developing depressive symptoms.

One in four participants enrolled in Florida MIECHV between April 1, 2013, and June 30, 2015, reported depression. Caregivers (n=715) were screened for depression and stress using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) and Perceived Stress Scale (PSS). The study analyzed sociodemographic variables and a range of risk factors to determine their association with depression. The report highlights the need to focus on stress management, while continuing to work improving socioeconomic conditions that contribute to stress. Prevention, early identification and treatment of depression are key strategies for improving both maternal and child outcomes.