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A comparison of anxiety and depressive symptomatology in postpartum and non-postpartum mothers

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The aim of the study was to compare the distribution of symptoms of anxiety and depression among postpartum as compared with non-postpartum mothers, and to estimate the impact of the postpartum period on the risk of anxiety and depression when adjusted for other risk factors.


A questionnaire survey approaching all women 18–40 years of age in two municipalities in Norway during the period 1998–1999 was conducted. A total of 2,730 women were included, of whom 416 were in the postpartum period. Only women with one or more deliveries (n = 1,794) were included in the multivariate analyses.


The crude prevalence of anxiety and depression was lower in postpartum as compared to non-postpartum mothers. However, when controlling for other risk factors, the odds ratio for anxiety was 1.2 (95% CI: 0.6–2.3) and for depression 1.8 (95% CI: 1.1–2.9) during the postpartum period.


The overall risk of anxiety appeared to be the same in both groups, whereas the risk of depression was increased in the postpartum group.

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Correspondence to Malin Eberhard-Gran MD, PhD.

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Eberhard-Gran, M., Tambs, K., Opjordsmoen, S. et al. A comparison of anxiety and depressive symptomatology in postpartum and non-postpartum mothers. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol 38, 551–556 (2003).

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