Screening tools ID postnatal depression in teen moms

December 17, 2013
Screening tools ID postnatal depression in teen moms

(HealthDay)—For adolescent mothers, the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) and two subscales are accurate for identifying postnatal depression, according to a study published online Dec. 16 in Pediatrics.

Kartik K. Venkatesh, M.D., Ph.D., from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues assessed the accuracy of the EPDS and three subscales for identifying postpartum depression in a cohort of 106 adolescent mothers with 289 postpartum visits. At six weeks, three months, and six months, mothers completed a psychiatric diagnostic interview and the 10-item EPDS. Three subscales of the EPDS had their accuracy assessed as brief screening tools: three-item anxiety subscale (EPDS-3); seven-item depressive symptoms subscale (EPDS-7); and two-item subscale (EPDS-2).

The researchers found that 18 percent of the participants met the psychiatric diagnostic interview criteria for incident postpartum depression. The full EPDS, EPDS-7, and EPDS-2 performed equally well when used as continuous measures (area under the curve, >0.9). Compared with currently recommended cutoff scores (≥10), optimal cutoff scores for a positive depression screen were lower for the EPDS (≥9) and EPDS-7 (≥7). Both EPDS and EPDS-7 had sensitivities of 90 percent and specificities of more than 85 percent at optimal cutoff scores.

"This study suggests not only that the EPDS is a valid tool for screening among adolescent mothers but that its briefer subscales may also be effective tools in clinical practice," the authors write.

Explore further: Postpartum anxiety more common than depression

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