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Correlates of Depressive Symptoms in Mothers of Preterm Infants

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Purpose: To identify factors related to depressive symptoms in mothers of preterm infants and to changes in depressive symptoms between hospitalization and when the infant was six months corrected age and to determine whether these factors differentiate mothers at high risk for depression from mothers at low risk for depression.

Design: Correlational.

Sample: During hospitalization, 39 mothers of preterm infants and, at six months corrected infant age, 34 mothers of preterm infants.

Main Outcome Variable: Depressive symptoms as measured on the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression scale.

Results: At enrollment, 19 mothers (48.7 percent) had elevated depressive symptom scores. When the infants were six months corrected age, mean scores had decreased by 36 percent, and only 20 percent of the mothers had elevated scores. During hospitalization, the correlates of depressive symptoms were similar to the factors that differentiated between mothers at high risk and those at low risk for depression. However, the correlates of depressive symptoms during hospitalization were different from correlates of changes in depressive symptoms between hospitalization and six months corrected infant age. Identifying correlates of maternal depressive symptoms may lead to earlier identification and treatment of women at risk for depression, thereby decreasing the negative effects on infant development.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2003-01-01

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