Publication details

Mild differences in the role of somatic symptoms in depression networks in pregnancy and postpartum : A comparison with women outside peripartum



Year of publication 2024
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Journal of Psychiatric Research
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Social Studies

Keywords Depression; Somatic symptoms; Pregnancy; Postpartum; Network analysis
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Description Depression is one of the most prevalent mental ailments in pregnancy. Many authors have discussed the appropriateness of somatic symptoms for depression assessment in pregnancy and postpartum. However, no study has examined the role of somatic symptoms in networks of pregnant and postpartum women compared to women outside peripartum. Here, we show that somatic symptoms are essential to depression assessment during pregnancy and postpartum. We compared networks of the nine PHQ-9 items across pregnant women (n = 894, Mage = 29.29), women in postpartum (n = 586, Mage = 29.83) and women outside peripartum (n = 1029, Mage = 24.87). While three of the five somatic symptoms in PHQ-9 were more present in pregnant women than in those outside the peripartum, the three networks were highly similar regarding the position of the somatic symptoms and their relation to the emotional-cognitive symptoms. Most depression symptoms in pregnant women were predicted by other depression symptoms to a lesser extent than in postpartum and outside peripartum. Other external variables are therefore needed to explain these sensations in pregnancy. In addition to the incidence of somatic symptoms, practitioners should ask pregnant women about their attributions of these.
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