45 Percent of Poor Moms May Be Depressed

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, May 6 (UPI) — About 45 percent of mothers who live in poverty screened positive for depressive symptoms, of which 6 percent had severe symptoms, U.S. researchers say.

“This finding reinforces that depression in mothers is not restricted to the postpartum period, and in fact after the postpartum period as children get older, the prevalence of maternal depression may be higher,” lead author Dr. Carol Weitzman said in a statement.

The study suggested depression in these mothers may become a chronic condition and be linked to behavioral problems in their children. However, the study also found treatment could help the mothers’ symptoms improve.

Weitzman and colleagues asked 931 mothers in for a well-child visit to complete a 16-item measure of depression. Those screening positive were interviewed to confirm depressive symptoms and 71 mothers were randomly assigned to receive either six sessions of on-site cognitive behavior therapy or case management by a social worker. Women receiving treatment — but not those receiving case management — showed significant improvement.

The results were presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies Annual Meeting in Vancouver.

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