Postpartum depression prevalence and risk factors among Indigenous, non-Indigenous and immigrant women in Canada

Nihaya Daoud, Kristen O’Brien, Patricia O’Campo, Sarah Harney, Evelyn Harney, Kerry Bebee, Cheryllee Bourgeois, Janet Smylie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Objectives: The social position of different minority groups in contemporary societies suggests different risk factors for postpartum depression (PPD). In this study, we used two cut-offs of the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale (EPDS) to examine prevalence and risk factors for PPD among mothers participating in the Canadian Maternity Experiences Survey (MES), and to compare Indigenous, Canadian-born non-Indigenous and immigrant mothers. Methods: We used cross-sectional nationwide data from the 2006 MES (unweighted N = 6237, weighted N = 74,231) and conducted multivariate logistic regression models for EPDS ≥ 10 and EPDS ≥ 13 to explore risk factors for the total sample of mothers and in each study group. Results: Prevalence (%, 95 % CI) of EPDS ≥ 10 and EPDS ≥ 13 was significantly higher among immigrant (12.2 %, 10.2–14.2 and 24.1 %, 21.5–26.7) and Indigenous (11.1 %, 7.5–14.7 and 21.2 %, 16.5–25.9) compared to Canadian-born non-Indigenous mothers (5.6 %, 4.9–6.3 and 12.9 %, 11.9–13.9). Multivariate analysis of the total sample showed similar risk factors for EPDS ≥ 10 and EPDS ≥ 13 (ethnicity, low education, ≥ low income cut-off, taking antidepressants, experiencing abuse, low social support). Stratification by study group revealed differing risk factors in each group for EPDS ≥ 10 and EPDS ≥ 13. Indigenous mothers had the most distinct risk factors, followed by immigrant mothers. Non-indigenous Canadian-born mothers had risk factors most similar to the total sample. Conclusion: Differing prevalence and risk factors for PPD within and across study groups suggest that instead of a universal approach, tailored programs and services to prevent PPD in Indigenous, immigrant and non-Indigenous Canadian-born groups could better protect the mental health of Canadian mothers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)440-452
Number of pages13
JournalCanadian Journal of Public Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - 15 Aug 2019


  • Canada
  • Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS)
  • Indigenous, immigrant, and non-Indigenous Canadian-born mothers
  • Postpartum depression
  • Risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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