The British Journal of Psychiatry


BACKGROUND The psychosocial correlates of depression during pregnancy were explored.

METHOD Pregnant women attending the antenatal clinic of a general hospital (n = 1329) received a set of questionnaires including Zung's Self-Rating Depression Score (SDS). SDS high scores (> 49) (the cases: n = 179) were compared with low scores (< 38) (the controls; n = 343).

RESULTS The cases were characterised by: first delivery; more nausea, vomiting, and anorexia; more menstrual pains and premenstrual irritability; early paternal loss; lower maternal care and higher paternal overprotection; higher public self-consciousness score; more smoking and use of medication in pregnancy; unwanted pregnancy; negative psychological response to the pregnancy by the woman and husband; poor intimacy by the husband; and having remarried.

CONCLUSIONS Depression in early pregnancy is determined mainly by psychosocial factors.