Faculty Publications

Document Type


Publication Date

January 2010

Publication Title

Maternal & Child Health Journal

First Page


Last Page



Medicine and Health Sciences


Postpartum depression affects 10–20% of women and causes significant morbidity and mortality among mothers, children, families, and society, but little is known about postpartum depression among the individual Asian and Pacific Islander racial/ethnic groups. This study sought to identify the prevalence of postpartum depression among common Asian and Pacific Islander racial/ethnic groups. Data from the Hawaii Pregnancy Risk Assessment and Monitoring System (PRAMS), a population-based surveillance system on maternal behaviors and experiences before, during, and after the birth of a live infant, were analyzed from 2004 through 2007 and included 7,154 women. Questions on mood and interest in activities since giving birth were combined to create a measure of Self-reported Postpartum Depressive Symptoms (SRPDS). A series of generalized logit models with maternal race or ethnicity adjusted for other sociodemographic characteristics evaluated associations between SRPDS and an intermediate level of symptoms as possible indicators of possible SRPDS. Of all women in Hawaii with a recent live birth, 14.5% had SRPDS, and 30.1% had possible SRPDS. The following Asian and Pacific Islander racial or ethnic groups were studied and found to have higher odds of SRPDS compared with white women: Korean (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 2.8;95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.0–4.0), Filipino (AOR = 2.2;95% CI: 1.7–2.8), Chinese (AOR = 2.0;95% CI: 1.5–2.7), Samoan (AOR = 1.9;95% CI: 1.2–3.2), Japanese (AOR = 1.6;95% CI: 1.2–2.2), Hawaiian (AOR = 1.7;95% CI: 1.3–2.1), other Asian (AOR = 3.3;95% CI: 1.9–5.9), other Pacific Islander (AOR = 2.2;95% CI: 1.5–3.4), and Hispanic (AOR = 1.9;95% CI: 1.1–3.4). Women who had unintended pregnancies (AOR = 1.4;95% CI: 1.2–1.6), experienced intimate partner violence (AOR = 3.7;95% CI: 2.6–5.5), smoked (AOR = 1.5;95% CI: 1.2–2.0), used illicit drugs (AOR = 1.9;95% CI: 1.3–3.9), or received Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) benefits during pregnancy (AOR = 1.4;95% CI: 1.2–2.6) were more likely to have SRPDS. Several groups also were at increased risk for possible SRPDS, although this risk was not as prominent as seen with the risk for SRPDS. One in seven women reported SRPDS, and close to a third reported possible SRPDS. Messages about postpartum depression should be incorporated into current programs to improve screening, treatment, and prevention of SRPDS for women at risk.


Copyright © 2010 Springer Verlag. The final publication is available at link.springer.com. DOI: 10.1007/s10995-009-0504-z.