Prevalence of and factors influencing postnatal depression in a rural community in South Africa

Type Journal Article - African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine
Title Prevalence of and factors influencing postnatal depression in a rural community in South Africa
Volume 7
Issue 1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2015
Background: Knowledge about postnatal depression (PND) and associated risk factors which
influence the development of PND is vital for early detection, intervention and prevention.
Setting: The study was conducted in primary health care clinics (PHC) in the Witzenberg
subdistrict, a rural community in South Africa.
Objectives: Objectives of this study were to determine the prevalence of PND and to identify
the contributing risk factors associated with PND.
Methods: A descriptive cross sectional research design with a quantitative approach was
applied. The target population was mothers, 18 years and older. A convenience sampling
method was used to select a sample of 159 (10%) from a population of 1605 live births. The
Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) and Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), two
validated self-rating questionnaires, including a questionnaire based on demographical,
psychosocial and obstetrical data, were applied. The data was analysed using various statistical
tests to determine statistical associations between variables using a 95% confidence interval.
Results: PND was a serious health problem with 50.3% of the mothers who suffered from
PND. A BDI analysis showed that of the participants who had PND, 28.8% was severe,
48.8% moderate and 22.5% mild. Factors influencing the development of PND included most
participants (63.5%) were unmarried, 61.3% were unemployed and the majority (53.8%) had
a history of a psychiatric illness. Significant associations between PND and unplanned and
unwelcome babies (p < 0.01); partner relationship (p < 0.01); were identified.
Conclusion: Prevention, early detection, appropriate referral and treatment of PND are critical
in managing maternal, child and family well-being.

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