Canadian Study Finds Higher Rates of Postpartum Depression in Urban Areas

An interesting study by Dr. Simone Vigod, a psychiatrist at the Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, found that women living in urban areas experienced a greater rate of depression following their pregnancy than those living in rural areas. The researcher pins the lack of a strong support system in cities as a culprit in the disparity.

These findings reinforce the idea that supportive relationships play an important role in post-pregnancy outcomes, as discussed in Chapter 6 in my book, “Happy Endings, New Beginnings: Navigating Postpartum Disorders”.

It certainly is plausible that residents of smaller rural communities, who have friends, neighbors, and family nearby, would feel less isolated, enjoy more support, and thereby be at lower risk for depression.

Often, living in a city adds anonymity, isolation, and a sense of loneliness, all factors that can increase the risk of mental health issues such as depression. Now, add in a new baby, sleep deprivation and a reluctance to venture from home or apartment and you have a recipe for postpartum mood problems.

I look forward to more studies (including in U.S. cities and rural areas) which control for variables like greater poverty, recent immigration, non-English speaking participants, living in a high crime area, more single parent family status, lack of a support network, and other factors. The result of such studies should add valuable information to those investigations.

I also hope to see prevention programs put in place that could specifically target women living in urban areas and could reduce the rates of postpartum depression. This Canadian study cites social support as one such program and in my mind; those types of action plans are certainly feasible.


~ by ppdsus on August 16, 2013.

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