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Predictors of maternal psychological distress in rural India: a cross-sectional community-based study

Prost, Audrey, Lakshminarayana, Rashmi, Nair, Nirmala, Tripathy, Prasanta, Copas, Andrew, Mahapatra, Rajendra, Rath, Shibanand, Gope, Raj Kumar, Rath, Suchitra, Bajpai, Aparna, Patel, Vikram and Costello, Anthony (2012) Predictors of maternal psychological distress in rural India: a cross-sectional community-based study. Journal of Affective Disorders, 138 (3). pp. 277-286. ISSN 0165-0327

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.jad.2012.01.029


Maternal common mental disorders are prevalent in low-resource settings and have far-reaching consequences for maternal and child health. We assessed the prevalence and predictors of psychological distress as a proxy for common mental disorders among mothers in rural Jharkhand and Orissa, eastern India, where over 40% of the population live below the poverty line and access to reproductive and mental health services is low. Method: We screened 5801 mothers around 6 weeks after delivery using the Kessler-10 item scale, and identified predictors of distress using multiple hierarchical logistic regression. Results: 11.5% (95% CI: 10.7-12.3) of mothers had symptoms of distress (K10 score > 15). High maternal age, low asset ownership, health problems in the antepartum, delivery or postpartum periods, caesarean section, an unwanted pregnancy for the mother, small perceived infant size and a stillbirth or neonatal death were all independently associated with an increased risk of distress. The loss of an infant or an unwanted pregnancy increased the risk of distress considerably (AORs: 7.06 95% CI: 5.51-9.04 and 1.49, 95% CI: 1.12-1.97, respectively). Limitations: We did not collect data on antepartum depression, domestic violence or a mother's past birth history, and were therefore unable to examine the importance of these factors as predictors of psychological distress. Conclusions: Mothers living in underserved areas of India who experience infant loss, an unwanted pregnancy, health problems in the perinatal and postpartum periods and socio-economic disadvantage are at increased risk of distress and require access to reproductive healthcare with integrated mental health interventions.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2012 Elsevier B.V.
Divisions: Centre for Economic Performance
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
JEL classification: I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I1 - Health
I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I1 - Health > I12 - Health Production: Nutrition, Mortality, Morbidity, Suicide, Substance Abuse and Addiction, Disability, and Economic Behavior
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2012 16:23
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 01:56

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