Spouse's Deployment Status Tied to Depression Risk

Deployment status appears to affect depression screening scores in pregnancy and postpartum

TUESDAY, Aug. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Deployment of a spouse during pregnancy or the postpartum period is associated with an increased risk of a positive depression screening, according to research published in the September issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

In a retrospective cohort study, Denise C. Smith, of the Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Wash., and colleagues reviewed a database of women who completed the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale during pregnancy from 2007 to 2009. Screening was offered at the initial obstetric visit, at 28 weeks of gestation, and at six weeks postpartum. The investigators also asked participants whether their spouse was currently deployed, returning from deployment, preparing to deploy, or had no deployment planned.

With 3,956 surveys available for analysis, the researchers found that compared to women with a spouse with no deployment plans, the risk for a positive depression screen was more than doubled among participants whose spouse was deployed during the 28 to 32 week visit (13.1 versus 4.3 percent) or the postpartum period (16.2 versus 8.1 percent).

"Deployment status has a measurable effect on the prevalence of elevated depression screening scores during pregnancy and in the postpartum period," the authors write. "These findings suggest that more intense monitoring, assessment, and treatment may be warranted for this at-risk population."

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