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Depression, Instruments, Postpartum, Screening



  1. Clemmens, Donna PhD, RN
  2. Driscoll, Jeanne Watson MS, APRN, BC
  3. Beck, Cheryl Tatano DNSc, CNM, FAAN


Purpose: To describe in greater depth the profiles of the dimensions of the Postpartum Depression Screening Scale (PDSS), with a focus on those women identified with postpartum depression (PPD), and to provide a discussion of the implications for early detection in the community.


Method and Design: Subanalysis of data from 150 new mothers who completed the PDSS and had a DSM-IV diagnostic interview conducted by a nurse psychotherapist. Data analysis focused on exploring the profiles of women who were diagnosed with PPD as well as those who were not.


Results: The respondents within the major PPD group averaged scores twice as high as those in the nondepressed group, and described more profound emotional responses to their maternal role transitions.


Clinical Implications: PPD should be conceptualized as occurring in a continuum, with symptoms worsening over time for some women. Nurses working across healthcare settings can use the PDSS for identifying women with PPD. All healthcare providers who are in contact with postpartum women should be open to discussing these women's emotional needs, and should assess women on an ongoing basis. Using all opportunities to listen to women's unique stories that unfold during the postpartum period can help identify women who require treatment for this curable illness.