Symptom features of postpartum depression: are they distinct?

Journal Article (Journal Article)

The clinical features of postpartum depression and depression occurring outside of the postpartum period have rarely been compared. The 16-item Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology-Self-Report (QIDS-SR(16)) provides a means to assess core depressive symptoms. Item response theory and classical test theory analyses were conducted to examine differences between postpartum (n=95) and nonpostpartum (n=50) women using the QIDS-SR(16). The two groups of females were matched on the basis of age. All met DSM-IV criteria for nonpsychotic major depressive disorder. Low energy level and restlessness/agitation were major characteristics of depression in both groups. The nonpostpartum group reported more sad mood, more suicidal ideation, and more reduced interest. In contrast, for postpartum depression sad mood was less prominent, while psychomotor symptoms (restlessness/agitation) and impaired concentration/decision-making were most prominent. These symptomatic differences between postpartum and other depressives suggest the need to include agitation/restlessness and impaired concentration/decision-making among screening questions for postpartum depression.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Bernstein, IH; Rush, AJ; Yonkers, K; Carmody, TJ; Woo, A; McConnell, K; Trivedi, MH

Published Date

  • 2008

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 25 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 20 - 26

PubMed ID

  • 17187349

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC2268615

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1091-4269

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1002/da.20276


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States