History of childhood sexual abuse and risk of prenatal and postpartum depression or depressive symptoms: an epidemiologic review
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The objective of this review is to summarize the literature (and to the extent possible, report the magnitude and direction of the association) concerning history of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) and depression or depressive symptoms among pregnant and postpartum women. Publications were identified through literature searches of seven databases (PubMed, EMBASE, PyscINFO, CINAHL, Web of Science, BIOSIS, and Science Direct) using keywords including “child abuse,” “depression,” “pregnancy,” “prenatal,” “pregnancy,” and “postpartum.” The literature search yielded seven eligible studies on the prenatal period and another seven studies on the postpartum period. All but one prenatal study observed statistically significant positive associations of CSA with depression or depressive symptoms during pregnancy. Findings on the association of CSA with postpartum depression or depressive symptoms were inconsistent; pooled unadjusted and adjusted odds ratios were 1.82 (95 % confidence interval (CI) 0.92, 3.60) and 1.20 (95 % CI 0.81, 1.76). In sum, findings suggest a positive association of history of CSA with depression and depressive symptoms in the prenatal period. Findings on the postpartum period were inconsistent. Clinical and public health implications of evidence from the available literature are discussed, as are desirable study design characteristics of future research.
KeywordsChildhood sexual abuse Childhood trauma Depression Pregnancy Postpartum
This research was supported by an award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Institute of Child Health and Human Development (R01-HD-059835).
Conflicts of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
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