3 years ago

Seeking social support and postpartum depression: A pilot retrospective study of perceived changes

Margaret (peggy) O'neill, Annette Cycon, Liz Friedman

Publication date: Available online 8 January 2019

Source: Midwifery

Author(s): Margaret (Peggy) O'Neill, Annette Cycon, Liz Friedman


Postpartum depression prevalence rates reach as high as 25% (Gavin, 2006). Negative effects on mothers and children are well established. Although low social support is an important predictor of perinatal depression (Leahy-Warren, McCarthy, & Corcoran, 2012), the value of peer group support remains equivocal and is examined in this pilot study.


: Evaluations of interventions that focus on social support in real world settings for women experiencing PPD are lacking. In this pilot study we asked how perceived changes over time in three types of social support (significant other, family, and friends) in participants who sought help and attended (NAME) postpartum peer support groups related to perceived changes in depression over the same time period.


: Retrospective design and Internet survey


: On-line survey referring to in-person participation in peer support groups for postpartum women


: Fifty-seven women who attended postpartum peer support groups


: We investigated how self-reported changes over time in three types of social support (significant other, family, and friends) relate to perceived changes in depression over the same period. Parametric statistical analyses using SPSS 20.0 included Cronbach's alpha tests, paired sample t-tests and Pearson correlational analyses.


: Significant improvement was reported. Pre-post change scores of perceived social support from friends and significant other were significantly correlated to pre-post depression change scores suggesting that social support contributed to a reduction in depression in this sample of postpartum women.

Implications for practice

: Seeking social support may contribute to a reduction in depression, particularly as it relates to perceived support from friends and significant other. Other variables not measured are discussed.

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