Objective: To determine gender differences between women and their partners in the effect of psychosocial and personal factors on depression during the third trimester of pregnancy.
Method: A cross-sectional survey was carried out among 687 women and their partners (n = 669) attending the prenatal programme of Valencia province (Spain). Data collection was carried out by means of a self-reported questionnaire. The outcome variable was depression during the third trimester of pregnancy measured by the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. Predictor variables were psychosocial (marital dissatisfaction, confidant and affective social support) and personal (previous history of depression, partner depression and unplanned pregnancy) variables. The adjusted odds ratios (aOR) and their 95% confidence intervals were calculated by fitting a logistic regression model.
Results: The prevalence of pregnancy depression was higher among women (10.3%) than men (6.5%). In both sexes, the probability of depression during pregnancy was higher in those with marital dissatisfaction (aOR 3.05, 95% CI 1.59 to 5.82 for women and 3.14, 95% CI 1.24 to 7.99 for men) and among those whose with a previous history of depression (aOR 2.18, 95% CI 1.22 to 3.89 for women and 5.22, 95% CI 2.05 to 13.34 for men). Unplanned pregnancy did not increase the risk of pregnancy depression either in women or men. Gender differences were found on the impact of social support and partner’s depression. Whereas among men low affective social support and partner depression were associated with a higher probability of reporting depression, none of these variables were related to women’s depression.
Conclusion: Most predictor factors of depression during pregnancy are similar for both sexes but a gender-different impact of social support and partner depression on pregnancy depression was appreciated. Health professionals should be aware of potentially vulnerable groups for early diagnosis of pregnancy depression and to provide effective interventions.
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Funding: The study was partly financed by four research grants: three from “Fondo de Investigaciones Sanitarias” (Ministry of Health) (PI050443), Gender and Health Network (G03/42) and Epidemiology and Public Health Centres Network (C03/09) and two from “Conselleria de Sanitat, Generalitat Valenciana” (PI-031/2004 and PI-59/2005).
Competing interests: None declared.