Although postpartum depression is not uncommon among new mothers, it often goes undetected. And if untreated, it can adversely affect a mother’s functioning as well as her infant’s development.
A Measure of the Overall Severity and Seven Specific Symptoms
With the new Postpartum Depression Screening Scale (PDSS), clinicians can identify mothers suffering from postpartum depression early and easily. This 35-item, self-report instrument can be administered in just 5 to 10 minutes. Used as a brief screening device, it identifies women who are at high risk for postpartum depression, so that health care professionals can then refer them for definitive diagnosis and treatment.
Written at a third-grade reading level, PDSS items are brief and easy to understand. Mothers respond using a 5-point scale ranging from “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree”. The test yields an overall severity score falling into one of three ranges: Normal adjustment; Significant symptoms of postpartum depression; Positive screen for major postpartum depression. In addition, the PDSS provides scores for seven symptom areas: Sleeping/Eating Disturbances; Anxiety/Insecurity; Emotional Liability; Mental Confusion; Loss of Self; Guilt/Shame; Suicidal Thoughts.