Disparities in postpartum depression screening participation between immigrant and Danish-born women

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BACKGROUND: Qualitative studies suggest that immigrant women experience barriers for postpartum depression (PPD) screening. This study examines the prevalence of participation in PPD screening in the universal home-visiting programme in Denmark, in relation to migrant status and its association with acculturation factors, such as length of residence and age at migration.

METHODS: The sample consists of 77 694 births from 72 292 mothers (2015-18) that participated in the programme and were registered in the National Child Health Database. Lack of PPD screening using the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale (EPDS) was examined in relation to migrant group and acculturation factors. We used Poisson regression with cluster robust standard errors to estimate crude and adjusted relative risk.

RESULTS: In total, 27.8% of Danish-born women and 54.7% of immigrant women lacked screening. Compared with Danish-born women, immigrant women in all groups were more likely to lack PPD screening (aRR ranging from 1.81 to 1.90). Women with low acculturation were more likely to lack screening. Women who migrated as adults [aRR = 1.27 (95% CI 1.16, 1.38)] and women who had resided in Demark for <5 years [aRR = 1.37 (95% CI 1.28, 1.46)] were more likely to lack screening.

CONCLUSIONS: Immigrant women in Denmark, particularly recent immigrants, are at increased risk of not being screened for PPD using the EPDS. This can lead to under-recognition of PPD among immigrant women. More work is needed to understand how health visitors recognize the mental health needs of immigrant women who are not screened, and whether this gap results in reduced use of mental health services.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Public Health
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)41–48
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Public Health Association. All rights reserved.

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