The relationship between postpartum depression and maternal emotional availability

Postpartum depression is a highly prevalent disorder that can interfere in the mother-infant relationship. This study aims to evaluate the prevalence of postpartum depression in our sample to compare mother-infant interaction in depressed and non-depressed mothers and to assess the relationship between maternal depression, social support, attachment style, and emotional availability. Participants were pregnant women who planned to deliver at the University of São Paulo Hospital between December 2006 and December 2008. Postpartum depression prevalence in our sample was 28%. No difference was found in emotional availability between depressed and non-depressed mothers. There was a positive correlation between maternal sensitivity and education, and between sensitivity and some dimensions of social support and attachment styles. We conclude that postpartum depression prevalence in our sample was higher than the average international rates, but that depressive symptoms do not impair mother-infant interaction. Maternal sensitivity is affected by socio-cognitive and emotional factors.

Postpartum Depression; Mother-Child Relations; Social Support


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