Lifetime maternal experiences of abuse and risk of pre-natal depression in two demographically distinct populations in Boston

Connors Center for Women's Health and Gender Biology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.
International Journal of Epidemiology (Impact Factor: 9.18). 12/2010; 40(2):375-84. DOI: 10.1093/ije/dyq247
Source: PubMed


To investigate lifetime history of interpersonal abuse and risk of pre-natal depression in socio-economically distinct populations in the same city.
We examined associations of physical and sexual abuse with the risk of pre-natal depression in two cohorts in the Boston area, including 2128 participants recruited from a large urban- and suburban-managed care organization (Project Viva) and 1509 participants recruited primarily from urban community health centres (Project ACCESS). Protocols for the studies were designed in parallel to allow us to merge data to enhance ethnic and socio-economic diversity in the combined sample. In mid-pregnancy, the Personal Safety Questionnaire and Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) were administered in both cohorts. An EPDS score ≥ 13 indicated probable pre-natal depression. Logistic regression was used to estimate the odds ratio (OR) of pre-natal depression associated with lifetime abuse history.
Project ACCESS participants were twice as likely as Project Viva participants to report symptoms consistent with pre-natal depression: 22% of Project ACCESS participants had EPDS scores ≥ 13, compared with 11% of Project Viva participants. Fifty-seven percent of women in ACCESS and 46% in Viva reported lifetime physical and/or sexual abuse. In merged analysis, women reporting lifetime physical or sexual abuse had an OR for mid-pregnancy depression of 1.63 [95% confidence interval (95% CI): 1.29-2.07], adjusted for age and race/ethnicity. Lifetime histories of physical abuse [OR 1.48 (95% CI 1.15-1.90)] and sexual abuse [OR 1.68 (95% CI 1.24-2.28)] were independently associated with pre-natal depression. When child/teen, pre-pregnancy adult and pregnancy life periods were considered simultaneously, abuse in childhood was independently associated with an OR of 1.23 (95% CI 1.00-1.59), pre-pregnancy adult abuse with an OR of 1.70 (95% CI 1.31-2.21) and abuse during pregnancy with an OR of 1.77 (95% CI 1.14-2.74). Further adjustment for childhood socio-economic position made no material difference, and there were no clear interactions between abuse and adult socio-economic position.
Physical and sexual abuse histories were positively associated with pre-natal depression in two economically and ethnically distinct populations. Stronger associations with recent abuse may indicate that the association of abuse with depression wanes with time or may result from less accurate recall of remote events.

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