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Related but different: Distinguishing postpartum depression and fatigue among women seeking help for unsettled infant behaviours

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journal contribution
posted on 2024-06-18, 10:51 authored by N Wilson, Karen WynterKaren Wynter, J Fisher, B Bei
BACKGROUND: A growing body of evidence in relatively healthy populations suggests that postpartum depression and fatigue are likely distinct but related experiences. However, differentiating depression and fatigue in clinical settings remains a challenge. This study aimed to assess if depression and fatigue are distinct constructs in women with relatively high fatigue and psychological distress symptoms attending a residential program that assists with unsettled infant behaviour. METHODS: 167 women (age: M = 34.26, SD = 4.23) attending a private residential early parenting program completed the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS21-D), Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS) and self-report sleep variables before program commencement. Confirmatory Factor Analysis examined the associations between depression and fatigue latent factors. RESULTS: A two-factor model of separate but related depression and fatigue constructs provided a significantly better fit to the data than a one-factor model of combined depression and fatigue (p < .001). In the two-factor model, the depression and fatigue latent factors were moderately correlated (.41). Further predictive utility of this two-factor model was demonstrated as both depression and fatigue factors were independently predicted by worse self-reported sleep efficiency. CONCLUSIONS: This study provides empirical evidence that for women attending a clinical service with relatively high fatigue and psychological distress, postpartum depression and fatigue remain separate but related experiences. These findings suggest that in women seeking clinical support in the postpartum period, both depression and fatigue need to be carefully assessed to ensure accurate diagnoses, and (b) whilst depression intervention may improve fatigue, targeted fatigue intervention may also be warranted.

History

Journal

BMC Psychiatry

Volume

18

Article number

ARTN 309

Pagination

1 - 9

Location

England

Open access

  • Yes

ISSN

1471-244X

eISSN

1471-244X

Language

English

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2018, The Authors

Issue

1

Publisher

BMC