Archives of Women's Mental Health

, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 3–7 | Cite as

Temperament and character in women with postpartum depression

  • A. Josefsson
  • C. Larsson
  • G. Sydsjö
  • P.-O. Nylander
Original contribution


Objective: To investigate whether women with postpartum depression differ in personality traits from healthy postpartum women, healthy controls from the normal Swedish population and non-postpartum women with major depression.

Methods: Forty-five women with postpartum depression were compared with 62 healthy postpartum women, 62 age-matched, healthy, non-postpartum women from a normal sample and 74 non-postpartum women with major depression from a clinical sample. The edinburgh postnatal depression scale was used in order to screen for postpartum depression. A clinical diagnostic interview was done including a rating with the Montgomery-Asberg depression rating scale. Personality i.e. temperament and character was measured by the temperament and character inventory.

Results: Harm avoidance (HA) was higher (p < 0.001) and self-directedness (SD) scored lower (p < 0.001) in women with postpartum depression compared to healthy postpartum women. These differences were the most important differences between these two groups. Women with postpartum depression scored lower (p = 0.001) in cooperativeness (CO) and higher (p = 0.019) in self-transcendence (ST) compared to healthy postpartum women. Women with postpartum depression scored overall similar to women with major depression.

Conclusion: High HA and low SD can be seen as vulnerability factors for developing a depression and especially in a stressful situation as childbirth.

Keywords: Postpartum; depression; temperament; character; personality. 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Josefsson
    • 1
  • C. Larsson
    • 1
  • G. Sydsjö
    • 1
  • P.-O. Nylander
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Division of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health SciencesLinköping UniversityLinköpingSweden
  2. 2.Division of Psychiatry, Department of Neuroscience and LocomotionUniversity of LinköpingLinköpingSweden
  3. 3.Department of PsychiatryCounty HospitalKalmarSweden

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