PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles

Mental Health - Obstetrics - Women's Health

Prospective Study on the Association between Harm Avoidance and Postpartum Depressive State in a Maternal Cohort of Japanese Women
Published: Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Author: Kaori Furumura et al.

by Kaori Furumura, Takayoshi Koide, Takashi Okada, Satomi Murase, Branko Aleksic, Norika Hayakawa, Tomoko Shiino, Yukako Nakamura, Ai Tamaji, Naoko Ishikawa, Harue Ohoka, Hinako Usui, Naomi Banno, Tokiko Morita, Setsuko Goto, Atsuko Kanai, Tomoko Masuda, Norio Ozaki


Recent studies have displayed increased interest in examining the relationship between personality traits and the onset, treatment response patterns, and relapse of depression. This study aimed to examine whether or not harm avoidance (HA) was a risk factor for postpartum depression measured by the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) and the state dependency of HA.


Pregnant women (n=460; mean age 31.9±4.2 years) who participated in a prenatal program completed the EPDS as a measure of depressive state and the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI) as a measure of HA during three periods: early pregnancy (T1), late pregnancy (around 36 weeks), and 1 month postpartum (T2). Changes in EPDS and HA scores from T1 to T2 were compared between the non depressive (ND) group and the postpartum depressive (PD) group.


There was no significant difference in the level of HA between the ND and PD groups at T1. In the ND group, EPDS and HA scores did not change significantly from T1 to T2. In the PD group, both scores increased significantly from T1 to T2 (EPDS, p<0.0001; HA, p<0.048). In the ND and PD groups, a significant positive correlation was observed in changes in EPDS and HA scores from T1 to T2 (r=0.31, p=0.002).


These results suggest that HA cannot be considered a risk factor for the development of postpartum depression measured by EPDS. Furthermore, HA may be state dependent.