Abstract

BackgroundPerinatal depression (PD) is linked with a multitude of poor outcomes and far-reaching complications that extend within the whole family unit. A growing body of evidence suggests that measuring PD literacy levels, attitudes and awareness is important as these may influence a perinatal woman's ability to seek support. AimTo explore pregnant women's awareness, knowledge, and attitudes about PD and identify any personal characteristics which influence attitudes and beliefs about PD. MethodA mixed-method, cross-sectional survey design was adopted. The established Perinatal Depression Monitor Questionnaire was adapted for use amongst the local population. Pregnant women attending their antenatal booking appointment at Mater Dei Hospital, Malta, were recruited between April and July 2019. Descriptive data was generated, and a multivariate linear regression model was used to evaluate the relative influence of the sociodemographic variables on attitudes and beliefs towards PD. ResultsOut of 487 distributed questionnaires, 404 questionnaires were returned. While awareness of PD appeared to be high, there was limited understanding of the term PD. The sample was generally knowledgeable on the core signs and symptoms of PD. First help-seeking intentions generally revolved around family and friends. Attitudes towards PD and relevant screening measures were generally positive. Education, parity, gestational age, and marital status were identified as the main predictors of attitudes towards PD. ConclusionThis study exposed some shortcomings that ought to be addressed with appropriate education measures. The study findings are also valuable to policymakers in evaluating the introduction of PD screening services.

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