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Detection of Postnatal Depression

Development of the 10-item Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 January 2018

J. L. Cox*
Department of Postgraduate Medicine University of Keele. City General Hospital, Stoke-on-Trent, Department of Psychiatry, University of Edinburgh
J. M. Holden
Department of Psychiatry, University of Edinburgh
R. Sagovsky
Department of Postgraduate Medicine University of Keele. City General Hospital, Stoke-on-Trent, Department of Psychiatry, University of Edinburgh
University of Keele, Thornburrow Drive, Hartshil, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs S17 7QB


The development of a 10-item self-report scale (EPDS) to screen for Postnatal Depression in the community is described. After extensive pilot interviews a validation study was carried out on 84 mothers using the Research Diagnostic Criteria for depressive illness obtained from Goldberg's Standardised Psychiatric Interview. The EPDS was found to have satisfactory sensitivity and specficity, and was also sensitive to change in the severity of depression over time. The scale can be completed in about 5 minutes and has a simple method of scoring. The use of the EPDS in the secondary prevention of Postnatal Depression is discussed.

Research Article
Copyright © 1987 The Royal College of Psychiatrists 

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