Global and relationship-specific perceptions of support and the development of postpartum depressive symptomatology
Cindy-Lee Dennis, Nicole Letourneau
Background A lack of social support has
consistently been demonstrated to be an important
modifiable risk factor for postpartum depression. As
such, a greater understanding of specific support
variables may assist health professionals in the development of effective preventive interventions.
The purpose of this paper was two-fold: (1) to
determine if women discriminated between global
and relationship-specific perceptions of support, and
(2) to examine the influence of global and relationship-
specific perceptions of support in the immediate
postpartum period on the development of depressive symptomatology at 8 weeks postpartum. Methods As part of a longitudinal study, a diverse sample of 594 mothers completed questionnaires that included the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) and global and relationship-specific (e.g., partner, mother, and other women with children) measures of support. Results Mothers clearly discriminated between global and relationship-specific perceptions of support and those with depressive symptomatology at 8 weeks had significantly lower perceptions of both global and relationship-specific support at 1-week postpartum. Using discriminant function analysis, four variables, reliable reliance from partner, nurturance from partner, attachment to other women with children, and EPDS score at 1-week postpartum, differentiated between mothers who experienced depressive symptomatology at 8 weeks and those who did not.