Archives of Women's Mental Health

, Volume 17, Issue 5, pp 343–357 | Cite as

Are women with a history of abuse more vulnerable to perinatal depressive symptoms? A systematic review

  • M. Alvarez-SeguraEmail author
  • L. Garcia-Esteve
  • A. Torres
  • A. Plaza
  • M. L. Imaz
  • L. Hermida-Barros
  • L. San
  • N. Burtchen
Review Article


The objective of this paper is to examine the association between maternal lifetime abuse and perinatal depressive symptoms. Papers included in this review were identified through electronic searches of the following databases: Pubmed Medline and Ovid, EMBASE, PsycINFO, and the Cochrane Library. Each database was searched from its start date through 1 September 2011. Keywords such as “postpartum,” “perinatal,” “prenatal,” “depression,” “violence,” “child abuse,” and “partner abuse” were included in the purview of MeSH terms. Studies that examined the association between maternal lifetime abuse and perinatal depression were included. A total of 545 studies were included in the initial screening. Forty-three articles met criteria for inclusion and were incorporated in this review. Quality of articles was evaluated with the Newcastle-Ottawa-Scale (NOS). This systematic review indicates a positive association between maternal lifetime abuse and depressive symptoms in the perinatal period.


Postpartum Antepartum Perinatal depression Violence Childhood abuse Domestic violence 



This study was supported by the Alicia Koplowitz Foundation (Spain). We thank Fritz Dement for bibliographic support.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Alvarez-Segura
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • L. Garcia-Esteve
    • 3
    • 4
  • A. Torres
    • 3
    • 4
  • A. Plaza
    • 3
    • 5
  • M. L. Imaz
    • 3
    • 4
  • L. Hermida-Barros
    • 1
  • L. San
    • 1
  • N. Burtchen
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Psychology, CIBERSAMHospital Sant Joan de DéuBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Fundación Alicia KoplowitzMadridSpain
  3. 3.Perinatal Psychiatry and Gender Program, Department of PsychiatryNeuroscience Clinic Institute, Hospital ClinicBarcelonaSpain
  4. 4.August Pi i Sunyer Biomedical Research Institute, IDIBAPSBarcelonaSpain
  5. 5.Borderline Personality Disorder ProgramCentre de Psicoterapia de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  6. 6.Department of Psychiatry, Developmental NeuroscienceColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

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