Factors associated with postpartum maternal functioning in women with positive screens for depression

Jennifer L. Barkin*, Katherine L. Wisner, Joyce T. Bromberger, Scott R. Beach, Stephen R. Wisniewski

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Background: Functional assessment may represent a valuable addition to postpartum depression screening, providing a more thorough characterization of the mother's health and quality of life. To the authors' knowledge, this analysis represents the first examination of postpartum maternal functioning, as measured by a patient-centered validated tool aimed at ascertainment of functional status explicitly, and its clinical and sociodemographic correlates. Materials and Methods: A total of 189 women recruited from a large, urban women's hospital in the northeastern United States who both (1) screened positive for depression between 4 and 6 weeks postpartum and (2) completed a subsequent home (baseline) visit between October 1, 2008, and September 4, 2009, were included in this analysis. Multiple linear regression was conducted to ascertain which clinical and sociodemographic variables were independently associated with maternal functioning. Results: The multivariate analysis revealed independent associations between bipolar status, atypical depression, depression score (17-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression), and insurance type with postpartum maternal functioning. The beta coefficient for bipolar status indicates that on average we would expect those with bipolar disorder to have maternal functioning scores that are 5.6 points less than those without bipolar disorder. Conclusions: Healthcare providers treating postpartum women with complicating mental health conditions should be cognizant of the potential ramifications on maternal functioning. Impaired functioning in the maternal role is likely to impact child development, although the precise nature of this relationship is yet to be elucidated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)707-713
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Women's Health
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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