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Psychosocial Risk Factors of Depression in Pregnancy: A Survey Study

Gourounti Kleanthi

Background: Investigation of the evidence regarding the association between personality trait and antenatal depression is poor while the evidence regarding marital support, social support and antenatal depression is contradictive. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the predictive value of trait anxiety, social support and marital support on antenatal depression. Materials and Methods: The study (running in 2011) involved 165 pregnant women undergoing antenatal screening in a public clinic of Athens. Dependent variables were depression (CES-D), trait anxiety (STAI), marital satisfaction (QMI), and social support satisfaction (SSQ-6). Univariate (t-test, chi-square, One-way ANOVA) and multivariate statistical analyses (linear regression) were performed by SPSS version-20. Results: Previous history of miscarriage, low income and low educational level showed significant associations with antenatal depressive symptomatology at the univariate level (t=2.340, p=0.024, F=3.219, p=0.043; F=4.718, p=0.010, respectively). In addition, low marital satisfaction and high trait anxiety showed significant associations with antenatal depressive symptomatology at the multivariate level (β=-0.328, p=0.007; β=0.713, p < 0.001, respectively). Conclusion: The importance of antenatal depression has been largely underestimated with the focus of research maintained on postnatal depression. The current study suggests that low marital satisfaction and high trait anxiety, which is a central component of neuroticism, are major risk factors of antenatal depression. Therefore, health care professionals must enhance the implementation of interventions and counseling services for decreasing the levels of trait anxiety and improving the marital relationships during pregnancy.