Postpartum depression hits low-income women hardest

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Washington, Feb 20 : A new study at University of Iowa has revealed that women with lower household incomes are more likely to suffer post natal depression.

The study led by UI psychologist Lisa Segre found that low-income women already coping with financial burden, are at an increased risk of suffering from depression after becoming mothers.

The team conducted the study over 4,332 new mothers from four Iowa counties.

The findings revealed that 40 percent of the mothers with a household income less than 20,000 dollars suffered postpartum depression while 13 percent of new mothers with a household income of 80,000 dollars or more were considered clinically depressed.

"Forty percent of Iowa's lowest-income mothers are facing the double burden of being depressed and being poor," said Segre.

"Women who are poor already have a lot of stress, ranging from poor living conditions to concerns about paying the bills.

"The birth of an infant can represent additional financial and emotional stress, and depression negatively impacts the woman's ability to cope with these already difficult circumstances," she added.

Another study by Segre found that African-American mothers were more likely to experience depressed moods immediately after giving birth than the white mothers while Latina mothers are less likely to experience such moods.

"Other research indicates that strong social support can serve as a buffer against postpartum depression, and that poor social support is a major predictor of postpartum depression," she said.

The researchers are now conducting further studies to work out how to help mothers suffering from postpartum depression.

The study was published in the journal Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology.

ANI

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