Coping strategies of women with postpartum depression symptoms in rural Ethiopia: a cross-sectional community study

Azale, Telake, Fekadu, Abebaw, Medhin, Girmay and Hanlon, Charlotte (2018) Coping strategies of women with postpartum depression symptoms in rural Ethiopia: a cross-sectional community study. BMC Psychiatry, 18 (41). pp. 1-13. ISSN 1471-244X

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Most women with postpartum depression (PPD) in low- and middle-income countries remain undiagnosed and untreated, despite evidence for adverse effects on the woman and her child. The aim of this study was to identify the coping strategies used by women with PPD symptoms in rural Ethiopia to inform the development of socio-culturally appropriate interventions.

A population-based, cross-sectional study was conducted in a predominantly rural district in southern Ethiopia.
All women with live infants between one and 12 months post-partum (n = 3147) were screened for depression symptoms using the validated Patient Health Questionnaire, 9 item version (PHQ-9). Those scoring five or more, ‘high PPD
symptoms’, (n = 385) were included in this study. The Brief Coping with Problems Experienced (COPE-28) scale was used
to assess coping strategies. Construct validity of the brief COPE was evaluated using confirmatory factor analysis.

Confirmatory factor analysis of the brief COPE scale supported the previously hypothesized three dimensions of
coping (problem-focused, emotion-focused, and dysfunctional). Emotion-focused coping was the most commonly employed coping strategy by women with PPD symptoms. Urban residence was associated positively with all three dimensions of coping. Women who had attended formal education and who attributed their symptoms to a physical cause were more likely to use both problem-focused and emotion-focused coping strategies. Women with better subjective wealth and those who perceived that their husband drank too much alcohol were more likely to use emotion-focused coping. Dysfunctional coping strategies were reported by women who had a poor relationship with their husbands.

As in high-income countries, women with PPD symptoms were most likely to use emotion-focused and dysfunctional coping strategies. Poverty and the low level of awareness of depression as an illness may additionally impede problem-solving attempts to cope. Prospective studies are needed to understand the prognostic significance of coping styles in this setting and to inform psychosocial intervention development.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Global Health and Infection
Research Centres and Groups: Wellcome Trust Brighton and Sussex Centre for Global Health Research
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Depositing User: Esther Garibay
Date Deposited: 20 Mar 2018 14:29
Last Modified: 20 Mar 2018 14:36

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