South African Journal of Psychiatry

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Post-partum depression, anxiety and marital satisfaction: A perspective from Southeastern Nigeria

Jaclyn I. Odinka, Marybasil Nwoke, JohnBosco C. Chukwuorji, Kenneth Egbuagu, Philip Mefoh, Paul C. Odinka, Kennedy U. Amadi, Rosemary C. Muomah


Background: Many studies have noted the high prevalence of post-partum depression (PPD) and anxiety associated with poor marital satisfaction, albeit amidst a dearth of literature on comorbid PPD and anxiety among women in Nigeria.

Objective: The study was aimed to assess the prevalence of PPD and anxiety, and to investigate their relationship with marital satisfaction in low-risk women in Enugu, Southeastern Nigeria.

Method: A cross-sectional study of 309 randomly selected nursing mothers at two tertiary health institutions. Socio-demographic Questionnaire, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, and Index of Marital Satisfaction (IMS) were used to collect data on demography, anxiety and depression and marital relationship respectively. All statistical tests were performed at a significant level of 0.05.

Results: The age range of the respondents was 20–46 years; mean and s.d. was 29.65 and ± 4.87, respectively, and most of them were graduates of tertiary educational institutions (74.1%). The prevalence of post-partum anxiety was 31.1% and of PPD was 33.3%. Marital dissatisfaction was observed in 39.5% (122) of the respondents who were mothers. Those with co-morbid depression and anxiety (22.0%) had worse marital dissatisfaction. The strongest correlation with depression and anxiety was item 12 of IMS (‘feel that my partner doesn’t confide in me’).

Conclusion: There was a high prevalence of marital dissatisfaction, PPD and anxiety among nursing mothers in Enugu, but with low detection rate. The effects of PPD and anxiety on the mother, her marital relationship and her infant make them essential conditions for early diagnosis, prevention and treatments.
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