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Racial differences in the prevalence of antenatal depression.



This study examined whether there were racial/ethnic differences in the prevalence of antenatal depression based on Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, diagnostic criteria in a community-based sample of pregnant women.


Data were drawn from an ongoing registry of pregnant women receiving prenatal care at a university obstetric clinic from January 2004 through March 2010 (N =1997). Logistic regression models adjusting for sociodemographic, psychiatric, behavioral and clinical characteristics were used to examine racial/ethnic differences in antenatal depression as measured by the Patient Health Questionnaire.


Overall, 5.1% of the sample reported antenatal depression. Blacks and Asian/Pacific Islanders were at increased risk for antenatal depression compared to non-Hispanic White women. This increased risk of antenatal depression among Blacks and Asian/Pacific Islanders remained after adjustment for a variety of risk factors.


Results suggest the importance of race/ethnicity as a risk factor for antenatal depression. Prevention and treatment strategies geared toward the mental health needs of Black and Asian/Pacific Islander women are needed to reduce the racial/ethnic disparities in antenatal depression.

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