This panel study examined the trajectories of depression and social support during the first year postpartum among marriage-based immigrant mothers in Taiwan, and the effect of social support on depression.
This panel study recruited South-Asia immigrant mothers (mean age: 27 years) to complete structured questionnaire at 1 month, 6 month, and 1 year postpartum. A total of 203 immigrant mothers completed structured questionnaires at 1 and 6 months, and 163 completed the questionnaires at 1 year postpartum. Postpartum depression was measured using the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale. Social support was composed of 3 subscales, emotional, instrumental, and informational support. Hierarchical linear modeling was used to examine the relationships between trajectories and factors associated with depression.
Depression and instrumental support followed downward curvilinear trajectories, while emotional and informational support followed upward curvilinear trajectories. Depression was highest at 1 month, decreased sharply until 6 months, and then leveled off between 6 and 12 months. Emotional and instrumental support negatively covaried with postpartum depression over time. When the three-dimensional supports were considered together, only emotional support retained its significance.
Our results demonstrated that depression was highest at 1 month, then decreased, and then leveled off during 1 year postpartum, though further study may be needed to confirm the trajectory. The 3 types of social support differed in postpartum trajectory, suggesting the needs to consider them separately in future studies. To decrease postpartum depression among immigrant mothers, strategies should be developed to increase emotional and instrumental support during postpartum period.