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Consumer education, Depression-screening instruments, Postpartum depression, Readability.



  1. Logsdon, M. Cynthia DNS, ARNP, FAAN
  2. Hutti, Marianne H. DNS, ARNP


Purpose: To evaluate the reading level of depression-screening instruments commonly used in postpartum depression (PPD) and evaluate the reading level of prevalent consumer pamphlets and books on PPD.


Design and Methods: Descriptive study evaluating the reading level of four PPD instruments (the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale, The Center for Epidemiologic Symptoms of Depression, the Postpartum Depression Screening Scale, and the Beck Depression Inventory-II), five pamphlets from grassroots organizations, and seven consumer books using the Fry Readability Graph.


Results: The readability of the postpartum screening instruments varied, but all were at or below the recommended 6th grade reading level. CES-D had the lowest reading level (grade 2). The readability of the consumer publications also varied, but all had a higher reading level than the recommended 6th grade level, some at the college reading level.


Clinical Implications: Readability is an important consideration in the choice of depression-screening instruments and written materials for consumers. Nurses using any of the four postpartum screening instruments studied can feel confident that women who can read will be able to read them. The readability of a book, pamphlet, or instrument should be of concern to nurses who work with women during the postpartum period.