The EPDS-Lifetime: assessment of lifetime prevalence and risk factors for perinatal depression in a large cohort of depressed women

Samantha Meltzer-Brody, Lynn Boschloo, Ian Jones, Patrick F Sullivan, Brenda W Penninx

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

78 Citations (Scopus)


Perinatal depression (PND) is a common complication of pregnancy and postpartum associated with significant morbidity. We had three goals: (1) to explore the performance of a new lifetime version of the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS-Lifetime) to assess lifetime prevalence of PND; (2) to assess prevalence of lifetime PND in women with prior histories of major depressive episode (MDE); and (3) to evaluate risk factors for PND. Subjects were from the Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety (NESDA). The EPDS was modified by adding lifetime PND screening questions, assessing worst episode, and symptom timing of onset. Of 682 women with lifetime MDD and a live birth, 276 (40.4 %) had a positive EPDS score of ≥12 consistent with PND. Women with PND more often sought professional help (p < 0.001) and received treatment (p = 0.001). Independent risk indicators for PND included younger age, higher education, high neuroticism, childhood trauma, and sexual abuse. We found that two in five parous women with a history of MDD had lifetime PND and that the PND episodes were more severe than MDD occurring outside of the perinatal period. The EPDS-Lifetime shows promise as a tool for assessing lifetime histories of PND in clinical and research settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)465-473
Number of pages9
JournalArchives of womens mental health
Issue number6
Early online date1 Aug 2013
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013


  • Adult
  • Depression/diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder, Major/diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening/methods
  • Maternal Behavior
  • Mothers/psychology
  • Netherlands/epidemiology
  • Perinatal Care
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications/epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult

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