Self-Rating Assessment of Postnatal Depression: A Comparison of the Beck Depression Inventory and the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale

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Two self-report rating scales of depression, the Beck Depression Inventory and the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale, were administered simultaneously to a large sample of new mothers at two and six months postpartum. Scores computed as continuous variables yielded high correlation coefficients at both moments of measure. Classification of subjects on the basis of recommended cutoff points yielded identical frequencies and defined similar patterns of onset and recovery, but showed a high degree of discrepancy between the two scales in the identification of dysphoric individuals. A preliminary examination of this low concordance revealed distinct response patterns belonging to divergent subgroups, suggesting that the two instruments are differently attuned to the various aspects of postnatal depression presentation.


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Véronique Lussier, D.Ps., Hélène David, D.Ps., Jean-François Saucier, Ph.D., and François Borgeat, M.D.

Véronique Lussier, D.Ps. is affiliated with the Department of Psychology at the University of Montreal. Hélène David, D.Ps., François Borgeat, M.D., M.Sc., and Jean-François Saucier, M.D., Ph.D., all teach and carry out research at the University of Montreal. Address correspondence to Dr. Hélène David, Department of Psychology, University of Montreal, Montreal Quebec, Canada.