J Epidemiol Community Health 65:320-326 doi:10.1136/jech.2008.085894
  • Research report

Gender differences in postpartum depression: a longitudinal cohort study

Open Access
  1. Lucía Artazcoz2,3,4
  1. 1Centre for Public Health Research (Health Inequalities Area), Valencia, Spain
  2. 2CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Barcelona, Spain
  3. 3Agència de Salut Pública, Barcelona, Spain
  4. 4Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain
  1. Correspondence to Dr Vicenta Escribà-Agüir, Centre for Public Health Research, Avda Catalunya, 21, Valencia 46020, Spain; escriba_vic{at}
  1. Contributors V-EA designed the study, oversaw its execution, analysed the resulting data, and wrote the article. LA assisted in interpreting findings and contributed to the analysis plan and editing of the article.

  • Accepted 4 December 2009
  • Published Online First 1 June 2010


Background The course of depression from pregnancy to 1 year post partum and risk factors among mothers and fathers are not known.

Aims (1) To report the longitudinal patterns of depression from the third trimester of pregnancy to 1 year after childbirth; (2) to determine the gender differences between women and their partners in the effect of psychosocial and personal factors on postpartum depression.

Methods A longitudinal cohort study was carried out over a consecutive sample of 769 women in their third trimester of pregnancy and their partners attending the prenatal programme in the Valencian Community (Spain) and follow-up at 3 and 12 months post partum. The outcome variable was the presence of depression at 3 or 12 months post partum measured by the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. Predictor variables were: psychosocial (marital dissatisfaction, confidant and affective social support) and personal (history of depression, partner's depression and negative life events, depression during the third trimester of pregnancy) variables. Logistic regression models were fitted via generalised estimating equations.

Results At 3 and 12 months post partum, 9.3% and 4.4% of mothers and 3.4% and 4.0% of fathers, respectively, were newly diagnosed as having depression. Low marital satisfaction, partner's depression and depression during pregnancy increased the probability of depression during the first 12 months after birth in mothers and fathers. Negative life events increased the risk of depression only among mothers.

Conclusions Psychosocial and personal factors were strong predictors of depression during the first 12 months post partum for both mothers and fathers.


  • Funding The study was partially financed by three research grants from ‘Fondo de Investigaciones Sanitarias’ (Ministry of Health; PI050443), Gender and Health Network (G03/42) and CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP) and two from ‘Conselleria de Sanitat. Generalitat Valenciana’ (PI-031/2004 and PI-59/2005).

  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial License, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non commercial and is otherwise in compliance with the license. See: and