Postnatal Depression in Chinese Women - An Overlooked Problem? Abstract

Lai Fong HO, Terence TH LAO

It was generally believed that postnatal depression is a rare event in Chinese communities, but recent reports in the mass media and medical literature have suggested otherwise. Using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) as the instrument to assess postnatal mood changes, studies conducted both in China and Hong Kong have found that the incidence of a high score, which suggested significant depression symptoms, was found in 10% to 15% of postnatal subjects. These figures were similar to the incidence reported from western countries. Certain factors, such as stressful life events, unsatisfactory relationship with spouse, and lack of assistance in baby care after discharge, appeared to be important determinants. These observations could be a reflection of the progressively westernized life style, with changes in cultural habits and family structure that have occurred in the past two decades. Screening of postnatal women may help to minimize the impact and possible consequences of postnatal depression.

Hong Kong J Gynaecol Obstet Midwifery 2000; 1:113-5

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