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The specific role of relationship life events in the onset of depression during pregnancy and the postpartum

Wright, N., Hill, J., Pickles, A. and Sharp, H. (2015) The specific role of relationship life events in the onset of depression during pregnancy and the postpartum. PLoS ONE, 10 (12). e0144131. ISSN 1932-6203

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0144131


Background The precipitating role of life events in the onset of depression is well-established. The present study sought to examine whether life events hypothesised to be personally salient would be more strongly associated with depression than other life events. In a sample of women making the first transition to parenthood, we hypothesised that negative events related to the partner relationship would be particularly salient and thus more strongly predictive of depression than other events. Methods A community-based sample of 316 first-time mothers stratified by psychosocial risk completed interviews at 32 weeks gestation and 29 weeks postpartum to assess dated occurrence of life events and depression onsets from conception to 29 weeks postpartum. Complete data was available from 273 (86.4%). Cox proportional hazards regression was used to examine risk for onset of depression in the 6 months following a relationship event versus other events, after accounting for past history of depression and other potential confounders. Results 52 women (19.0%) experienced an onset of depression between conception and 6 months postpartum. Both relationship events (Hazard Ratio = 2.1, p = .001) and other life events (Hazard Ratio = 1.3, p = .020) were associated with increased risk for depression onset; however, relationship events showed a significantly greater risk for depression than did other life events (p = .044). Conclusions The results are consistent with the hypothesis that personally salient events are more predictive of depression onset than other events. Further, they indicate the clinical significance of events related to the partner relationship during pregnancy and the postpartum.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
ID Code:51842
Publisher:Public Library of Science


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