Social factors and postpartum depression in Khayelitsha, Cape Town
Tomlinson, M., Swartz, L., Cooper, P.J. and Molteno, C. (2004) Social factors and postpartum depression in Khayelitsha, Cape Town. South African Journal of Psychology, 34 (3). pp. 409-420. ISSN 0081-2463
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Social factors, including poverty, are known risk factors for depression. In a previous study conducted in Khayelitsha, a very poor peri-urban settlement near Cape Town, a 34.7% prevalence rate for postpartum depression was found, roughly three times the expected rate internationally. This article is a report on a logistical regression analysis, showing that the odds ratios for the probability of maternal depression at two months were: for the infant being unwanted, OR=4.33, 95% CI: (1.75; 11.60); for the father's negative attitude towards the infant, OR=6.03, 95% CI: (2.01; 20.09); and for the mother cohabiting with (as opposed to not living with) a male partner, OR=2.77, 95% CI: (1.08; 7.69). The odds ratios for the probability of the mother being insensitive towards the infant at two months were: for the mother aged 20 to 24 years, OR=0.40, 95% CI: (0.10; 1.42); for the mother aged 25 to 29 years, OR=0.24, 95% CI: (0.06; 0.77); for the mother aged 30 years or older, OR=0.27, 95% CI: (0.07; 0.90); and for the mother receiving no help from her partner, OR=2.12, 95% CI: (1.05; 4.33). Since data were collected cross-sectionally, it is not possible to draw conclusions about causal pathways. The findings support further investigation into the precursors of, and risk factors for, postpartum depression amongst poor South African women.