A survey of postpartum depression in southeastern Montana
Kent, Valerie Ann
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There has been little research on postpartum depression (PPD) in the southeastern region of Montana. In the clinical experience of this researcher, relatively few health care providers perform a thorough assessment for PPD as part of postpartum care. Health care providers tend to underestimate both the incidence and effects of PPD. This study surveyed 16 women in southeastern Montana at their 4 to 6 week postpartum health care visit, using a standardized Postpartum Depression Screening Scale (PDSS). Surveys were scored while participants were at the clinic, and results were made available to the participants' health care providers. Women were surveyed at a physician-run OB/GYN practice. Fifteen of the women were married and one woman was single. One woman had only a high school education, 7 had some college, and 8 had 4-year college degrees. All of the women had health care insurance. Of the 16 women surveyed, 8 had PDSS scores consistent with normal adjustment. Five had PDSS scores consistent with significant symptoms of postpartum depression, and 3 women had PDSS scores that indicated a positive screen for postpartum depression. While the results fall within the prevalence rates indicated in the review of literature, they are not statistically significant and cannot be generalized to all women in southeastern Montana or to other populations. This study should be replicated with a larger sample size.