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Angelina Jolie may be suffering from postpartum depression. 3-Question Scale for uncovering Postpartum Depression

By HBC Protocols September 04, 2008 0 comments

Angelina Jolie may have some baby blues. Rumors are swirling that Angelina Jolie is overwhelmed and suffering from postpartum depression following the birth of twins Vivienne and Knox two months ago. The Enquirer is reporting that the twins suffer from colic, making for sleep-deprived nights for Jolie, who is also breastfeeding. In Touch is reporting that Jolie suffers mood swings. Throw in the other four kids, and, even life with Brad Pitt on a country estate in France can be a bit gloomy. 

3-Question Scale for uncovering Postpartum Depression 

A new study found that asking a new mother 3 simple questions as routine screening for postpartum depression may be just as effective as a longer survey. 

Karolyn Kabir, MD, Department of Pediatrics, Colorado Adolescent Maternity Program, University of Colorado and Health Sciences Center, Denver, Colorado and colleagues asked 199 young women, aged 14 to 26 years, to complete the 10-question Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale during well-child visits to the paediatrician during the first 6 postpartum months. Three subscales of the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale were examined as ultrabrief alternatives: the anxiety subscale (3 items; Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale-3), the depressive symptoms subscale (7 items; Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale-7), and 2 questions that resemble the Patient Health Questionnaire (Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale-2).

The reliability, stability, and construct validity of the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale and 3 subscales were compared. Criterion validity was assessed by comparison with a score of >=10 on the full, 10-item Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale. Researchers found that answers to the 3 questions of the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale that focus on anxiety — a prominent feature of postpartum depression — identified 95% of depressed mothers. It also identified 16% more mothers as depressed than the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale did. 

The performance of the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale-2 was markedly inferior, with sensitivity at 48% to 80%. Moreover, the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale-2 was unreliable for mothers who had not been depressed in the past. In clinical situations where a very short screening tool may be necessary, using the 3-item anxiety subscale of the Edinburgh PostpartumDepression Scale is a useful and brief screening tool for a primary healthcare setting in which the goal is to detect postpartum depression, not to assess its severity. The study is published in the September issue of Pediatrics.


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