Predictors of maternal and paternal depressive symptoms at postpartum

Fei Wan Ngai, Siew Fei Ngu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: Postnatal depression has emerged as a major public health concern, which has deleterious effects on the well-being of the entire family. The aim of this study was to examine the predictive role of prenatal family sense of coherence, stress, social support and family, and marital functioning; the effect that any changes in these factors from pregnancy to postpartum; and partner's depressive symptoms on depressive symptoms at 6. months postpartum. Methods: This study used a longitudinal design. A convenience sample of 200 childbearing couples in Hong Kong completed assessments of family sense of coherence, stress, social support, family, and marital functioning and depressive symptoms during pregnancy and at 6. months postpartum. Multiple regression analyses were employed. Results: The results showed that a low level of family sense of coherence and a high level of depressive symptoms during pregnancy and partner's depressive symptoms were significantly associated with an increase in depressive symptoms for both mothers and fathers at 6. months postpartum. A lack of social support was significantly associated with increased risk of depressive symptoms for mothers, but not for fathers. Conclusion: The results suggest that couple-based interventions that foster a sense of family coherence may be helpful in promoting parental well-being. Well-designed trials to test the effects of such interventions are recommended for future research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)156-161
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Depressive symptoms
  • Family sense of coherence
  • Postpartum
  • Pregnancy
  • Social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • General Medicine


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