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This study examined the level of maternal depressive symptoms and ways of coping among mothers with preterm infants as compared with those of 50 mothers with full-term babies. It was conducted in a hospital in Pretoria, South Africa, using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS; Cox, Holden, & Sagovsky, 1987) and the Ways of Coping Questionnaire (Folkman & Lazarus, 1988). No significant difference was found in the level of depression between the two groups. The overall level of depression found with both combined groups, was 2–3 times higher than those suggested in the literature. A positive correlation was found between the “Seeking Social Support” coping strategy and higher levels of depression among mothers of preterm infants. A positive correlation was also found among mothers of full-term infants who used the “Accepting Responsibility” coping strategy and higher levels of depression. The high number of mothers in this study identified as suffering from a depressive illness of varying severity raises concern. A clear need for professional help among this population is emphasized. Future research in this area is needed in order to better understand and effectively address this problem.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2006-01-01

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