Archives of Women's Mental Health

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 175–184 | Cite as

A longitudinal study of postpartum depressive symptoms: multilevel growth curve analyses of emotion regulation strategies, breastfeeding self-efficacy, and social support

  • Silje M. Haga
  • Pål Ulleberg
  • Kari Slinning
  • Pål Kraft
  • Thorbjørn B. Steen
  • Annetine Staff
Original Article


Postpartum depression is a serious health issue affecting as many as 10–15 % of postpartum women. This longitudinal study aimed to explore how psychological variables such as cognitive emotion regulation strategies, breastfeeding self-efficacy (BSE), and dimensions of social support predicted postpartum depressive symptoms (Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale). The data were collected with web-based survey questionnaires between May 2008 and December 2009, in a sample of 737 new mothers. The same questionnaire was surveyed at three points in time: 6 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months postpartum. Data were analyzed using multilevel modeling (level 1, time points; level 2, person). Results showed that BSE, certain cognitive emotion regulation strategies, perceived available support, and need for support predicted the rate of postpartum depressive symptoms. Only breastfeeding self-efficacy predicted change in postpartum depressive symptoms. This study illustrates the importance of psychological variables with regard to postpartum depressive symptoms. Implications for preventative efforts are discussed.


Postpartum depression Breastfeeding self-efficacy Emotion regulation Social support Longitudinal 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Silje M. Haga
    • 1
  • Pål Ulleberg
    • 1
  • Kari Slinning
    • 2
    • 3
  • Pål Kraft
    • 1
  • Thorbjørn B. Steen
    • 4
  • Annetine Staff
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  2. 2.National Network for Infant Mental HealthCentre for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Eastern and Southern Norway (R.BUP Oslo)OsloNorway
  3. 3.Division of Mental HealthNorwegian Institute of Public HealthOsloNorway
  4. 4.Department of Gynecology and Department of ObstetricsOslo University Hospital, UllevålOsloNorway
  5. 5.Faculty of MedicineUniversity of OsloOsloNorway

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