Prenatal and Postpartum Depression Among Low-Income Dominican and Puerto Rican Women

Luis H. Zayas, Katherine R.B. Jankowski, M. Diane McKee

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


This longitudinal study examined depression symptoms among pregnant, low-income, urban Latinas, primarily Puerto Ricans and Dominicans, receiving obstetrical services in community health centers. In all, 106 women were interviewed in late pregnancy, 47 were interviewed again 2 to 3 weeks postpartum, and 42 three months postpartum. Elevated levels of depressive symptoms were evident in 53% of the original sample. Across time, depressive symptoms decreased significantly; however, a decreased score was strongly related to number of negative life events. Social support scores were minimally related to depressive symptomatology. Service recommendations based on these findings include conducting third-trimester assessments of life events experienced during the past year and screening for depression to better identify women at risk of late pregnancy to postpartum-persistent depressive symptoms. More research and clinical attention on dysphoric states in pregnant Latinas and understanding the consequences of impaired perinatal mental health on maternal well-being and infant outcomes are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)370-385
Number of pages16
JournalHispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2003


  • Life events
  • Perinatal depression
  • Pregnancy
  • Primary care
  • Social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Linguistics and Language


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