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Perinatal Depressive Symptoms, Sociodemographic Correlates, and Breast-Feeding Among Chinese Women

Lau, Ying PhD, MN, BHSc, IBCLC, RM, RN; Chan, Kin Sun PhD, MPhil

The Journal of Perinatal & Neonatal Nursing: October-December 2009 - Volume 23 - Issue 4 - p 335–345
doi: 10.1097/JPN.0b013e3181bbbea9
Feature Articles

Objectives The objectives of the study were to (1) investigate the relationship between breast-feeding initiation and duration and patterns of perinatal depressive symptoms and (2) identify the sociodemographic correlates of such initiation and duration.

Method A sample of 2365 women in their second and third trimesters and 6 weeks postdelivery was recruited via systematic sampling from 6 regional public hospitals in Hong Kong. The women were identified as having perinatal depressive symptoms, using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. Their sociodemographic variables were investigated using the empirical evidence.

Results A total of 285 (47.66%) of the participants were found to have initiated breast-feeding, of whom 222 had breast-fed for more than 3 weeks. Logistic regression analysis revealed a monthly family income less than HK$5000 to be significantly associated with breast-feeding initiation and that housewives or part-time workers with antenatal depressive symptoms at 32 weeks of gestation were significantly more likely to breast-feed for longer duration.

Conclusions These findings help explicate breast-feeding practices among Chinese women and indicate that effective breast-feeding promotion should consider sociodemographic correlates and perinatal depressive symptoms. The study's limitations and implications are discussed.

School of Health Sciences, Macao Polytechnic Institute, The University of Macao, Macao Special Administration Region (SAR), Macao, China.

Corresponding Author: Ying Lau, PhD, MN, BHSc, IBCLC, RM, RN, School of Health Sciences, Macao Polytechnic Institute, 5/F Centro Hotline Bldg, No 335–341, Alameda Dr Carlos D'Assumpcao, The University of Macao, Macao Special Administration Region (SAR), Macao, China (

The authors thank all of the women for their participation in the study.

Submitted for publication: July 6, 2009

Accepted for publication: August 11, 2009

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.