Special topic

Archives of Women’s Mental Health

, Volume 6, Supplement 2, pp s43-s50

First online:

Risk factors for postnatal depression: a review and risk factors in Australian populations

  • P. M. BoyceAffiliated withDepartment of Psychological Medicine, University of Sydney, Nepean Hospital, Penrith, NSW, Australia

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¶Postnatal depression affects up to 15% of women in the six months following childbirth. Risk factors for this disorder are predominantly psychosocial. An overview of sociodemographic, early life experiences, external environment, internal environment and obstetric and infant variables are presented in the introduction. Two studies that recruited women shortly after they had given birth and followed up to six months postpartum are used to demonstrate the salience of such risk factors. The importance of clarifying risk factors to postnatal depression are discussed especially in relation to improving our understanding of the mechanisms of postnatal depression, how they may assist in developing preventative strategies and how they can help in planning treatment.

Keywords: Postnatal depression; risk factors; psychosocial; personality; epidemiology.