Older maternal age and major depressive episodes in the first two years after birth: findings from the Parental Age and Transition to Parenthood Australia (PATPA) study

Catherine A McMahon, Jacky Boivin, Frances L Gibson, Karin Hammarberg, Karen Hilary Wynter, Jane Rosamond Woodward Fisher

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19 Citations (Scopus)


Background This study examines whether (1) older maternal age is associated with increased risk of depressive episodes between four months and two years after first birth and (2) the role of subsequent reproductive, social and child factors in vulnerability to later onset depression. Method 592 women were recruited in the third trimester of pregnancy in three age-groups (= 30 years; 31-36 years,=37 years); 434 (73 ) completed all assessments at four months and two years after birth. Major Depression episodes (MDE) were assessed at four months and two years using the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI). Maternal (age, mode of conception, prior mood symptoms, health), child (temperament, health), reproductive (subsequent fertility treatment, pregnancy, birth, pregnancy loss) and social contextual variables (language background, paid work, practical support, life stresses) were assessed in pregnancy and postnatally using validated questionnaires and structured interview questions. Results Maternal age was not related to prevalence or timing of MDE. Depression symptoms, poor child health, low practical support at four months and a non-English language background predicted episodes of depression between four months and two years, ps
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)454 - 462
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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