The postpartum period is a time of heightened risk for the emergence of psychiatric illness, particularly in women who already have a history of mood disorder. Given the prevalence of depressive disorders during the childbearing years, it is crucial to identify women who are at highest risk for new onset or recurrence of depression during the postpartum period. Identification of those women at greatest risk for postpartum depression may allow for interventions that would limit maternal morbidity associated with untreated postpartum depression. This proposal outlines a multi-institutional collaborative research project (R01) in response to PA-00-074, in which risk for postpartum depression will be evaluated in women with histories of major depressive disorder. Subjects who have had at least one episode of DSM-IV major depression will be followed prospectively from late pregnancy (32-36 weeks gestation) up to six months after delivery using a series of standardized instruments. The primary aims of this investigation are (1) to identify clinical and psychosocial predictors of postpartum depression and functional impairment and (2) to determine the extent to which treatment (pharmacologic, nonpharmacologic or a combination) proximate to delivery modulates risk for postpartum relapse. How clinical and psychosocial variables including history of postpartum depression, severity of past depression, number of previous episodes, age at illness onset, depression during pregnancy, and social support affect risk for postpartum depression, as well as psychosocial functioning, will be investigated. The current submission is a natural extension of an ongoing academically productive collaboration in which risk for depressive relapse is evaluated in pregnant women with histories of major depression who either discontinue or maintain antidepressant treatment. This proposal provides an opportunity to study a rigorously followed population into a period of risk -- the postpartum period -- and to investigate the factors that confer or modulate risk for depression at this time. The three participating sites for this investigation include the Perinatal and Reproductive Psychiatry Clinical Research Program at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School (Drs. Cohen, Nonacs and Otto), the Women's Life Center and Mood Disorders Research Program at UCLA (Dr. AItshuler, Dr. Hendrick), and the Emory Women's Mental Health Program at Emory University School of Medicine (Dr. Stowe).

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Research Project (R01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-BBBP-5 (02))
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Oliver, Karen Anderson
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University of California Los Angeles
Other Domestic Higher Education
Los Angeles
United States
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