Using the Internet to Screen for Postpartum Depression
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Objective To examine the feasibility of using the Internet to screen for postpartum depressive symptoms. Methods A total of 142 participants completed the Postpartum Depression Screening Scale (PDSS) and the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale on the Internet, and these findings were compared with those administered in-person by the authors of the PDSS (Beck and Gable) in recruitment sources, demographic characteristics, psychometric properties, and prevalence of significant postpartum depressive symptoms. Results Participants were more likely to be recruited through Internet websites than mailing sources in the Internet study, and participants in the in-person study were recruited through prenatal childbirth classes. A higher proportion of Hispanic and Asian women participated on the Internet compared to the in-person study. The PDSS had excellent internal consistencies and construct validity across Internet and in-person studies. The Internet sample also reported more risk for major postpartum depression (PPD) compared to the community sample (23% vs. 12%). Conclusions The Internet is a viable and feasible tool to screen for PPD. Implications for preventing and treating PPD on the Internet are discussed.
KeywordsScreening Internet Postpartum depression
This work was supported by grants in part from the Luther Rice Fellowship at George Washington University and the Health Resources and Services Administration/Maternal Child Health Bureau (R40 MC 02497). The authors thank Melissa Davis for the initial collaboration and data collection, and Leah Matherne and Ruth Craig for their assistance in data management.
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