Original Article

Archives of Women's Mental Health

, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 135-143

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Recent intimate partner violence as a prenatal predictor of maternal depression in the first year postpartum among Latinas

  • Jeanette M. ValentineAffiliated withSemel Institute for Neuroscience & Human Behavior, Center for Health Services and Society, University of California—Los Angeles Email author 
  • , Michael A. RodriguezAffiliated withDepartment of Family Medicine, UCLA
  • , Lisa M. LapeyrouseAffiliated withHispanic Health Disparities Research Center, Department of Psychology, University of Texas at El Paso
  • , Muyu ZhangAffiliated withSemel Institute for Neuroscience & Human Behavior, Center for Culture, Trauma and Mental Health Disparities, University of California—Los Angeles


The study aims to determine if recent intimate partner violence (IPV) is a prenatal risk factor for postpartum depression (PPD) among pregnant Latinas seeking prenatal care. A prospective observational study followed Latinas from pregnancy through 13 months postpartum. Prenatal predictors of PPD included depression, recent IPV exposure, remote IPV exposure, non-IPV trauma history, poverty, low social support, acculturation, high parity, and low education. Postpartum depression was measured at 3, 7, and 13 months after birth with the Beck's Depression Inventory—Fast Screen. Strength of association was evaluated using bivariate and multivariable odds ratio analysis. Subjects were predominantly low income, monolingual Spanish, and foreign-born, with mean age of 27.7. Recent IPV, prenatal depression, non-IPV trauma, and low social support were associated with greater likelihood of PPD in bivariate analyses. Recent IPV and prenatal depression continued to show significant association with PPD in multivariate analyses, with greater odds of PPD associated with recent IPV than with prenatal depression (adjusted OR = 5.38, p < 0.0001 for recent IPV and adjusted OR = 3.48, p< 0.0001 for prenatal depression). Recent IPV exposure is a strong, independent prenatal predictor of PPD among Latinas. Screening and referral for both IPV and PPD during pregnancy may help reduce postpartum mental health morbidity among Latinas.


Intimate partner violence Postpartum depression Latina mental health Prenatal depression