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Comparisons of different instruments to measure blues and to predict depressive symptoms 2 months postpartum: a study of new mothers and fathers

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Abstract:

Scand J Caring Sci; 2008; 22; 186–195Comparisons of different instruments to measure blues and to predict depressive symptoms 2 months postpartum: a study of new mothers and fathers

The aim of the study was to investigate ‘blues’ during the first week postpartum in new mothers and fathers and to compare different instruments for measuring blues, as well as their ability to predict depressive symptoms at 2 months. Parents were informed while at the maternity clinic about the study and asked to independently answer questions for 5 days during the first week on the Blues Questionnaire, a VAS questionnaire and on the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) at 1 week and 2 months. Of the parents who initially agreed to participate in the study 171 (38%) of the mothers and 133 (31%) of the fathers returned all questionnaires completely filled-out after the first week, and of these, 155 mothers and 113 fathers also completed the EPDS at 2 months. The results showed that mothers experienced more blues than fathers, and that mothers’ blues peaked on day 3, while fathers’ peaked on day 1 after the delivery-day. The Blues Questionnaire and the VAS subscale ‘depressed mood’ identified more women as having blues (64% and 52%, respectively) during the first week over the EPDS (24%), but the EPDS identified women with the highest scores on the Blues Questionnaire. At 2 months, 19 (12%) of the mothers, and one father scored 10 or more on the EPDS. All these women, except for one, had experienced severe blues according to the Blues Questionnaire, the first week. Regression analyses showed that the Blues Questionnaire subscale ‘depression’ was the best predictor for a high EPDS score at 2 months in mothers, while the subscales ‘primary blues’, ‘hypersensitivity’ and ‘despondency’ best predicted depressive symptoms in fathers. Our results indicate that the EPDS could be a valuable instrument to measure ‘blues’, as EPDS seemed to indicate women with the highest risk for depressive symptoms.

Keywords: EPDS and Blues Questionnaire; postpartum blues; postpartum depression

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1471-6712.2007.00512.x

Publication date: June 1, 2008

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