Postpartum depression (PPD) affects approximately 1 in 9 women. However, screening rates for PPD are inconsistent and low among physicians. Physicians most often rely on clinical assessment to evaluate PPD but this method is often inaccurate or inconsistent in evaluating or diagnosing PPD. The current study had 3 objectives: 1) to assess overall screening rates of PPD; 2) to examine elevated PPD score rates; 3) to identify correlates of elevated PPD.
Archival data from an obstetrician/gynecology practice provided data for the current study. A total of 557 medical records were examined for the following: demographics, mental health history, PPD screening tools, elevated PPD screen recommendations and adherence. PPD screening frequency was assessed at 2 time points: intake appointment and 6-week post-delivery follow-up.
The screening rates were relatively high at intake (335/557, 60.1%) and at 6-week follow-up (476/557, 85.5%). Elevated PPD score rates at intake were 18.2% (n = 61/335) and 13.0% (n = 62/476) at 6-week follow-up. The following bivariate correlates of elevated PPD risk were observed: history of depression, history of anxiety, younger age, Medicaid/Medicare health insurance, and single marital status. Full regression models will be presented at the conference.
This research adds new knowledge regarding screening rates of PPD and elevated PPD screens, thereby enhancing quality of service provision for mothers. This study provides the basic science to inform an educational intervention addressing screening rates and correlates of PPD; such training may enhance provider knowledge, attitudes, and skills regarding PPD.