Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Three questions to diagnose postnatal depression

Postnatal depression is the most common problem new mothers confront but is often underdiagnosed. The condition is characterized by high levels of anxiety but screening is not routinely performed due to time and other constraints. Researchers at the Colorado Adolescent Maternity Programme have developed a simple three-item questionnaire based on a sub-scale of the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale. The three-item questionnaire was more accurate than two other, longer, subscales and identified 16% more mothers as depressed than the original longer questionnaire. The three questions, which were answered on a five-point scale ranging from 'Yes, most of the time' to 'No, never' were:

  • I have blamed myself unnecessarily when things went wrong
  • I have felt scared or panicky for no very good reason
  • I have been anxious or worried for no very good reason

You can find out more about this research at


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