Parents May Screen Positive for Depression Outside Postpartum Period


TUESDAY, June 28, 2022 — Screening for parental depressive symptoms outside of the postpartum period could identify families in need of support, according to a review published online June 28 in Pediatrics.

Ava Marie Hunt, M.D., from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and colleagues conducted a scoping review to examine the literature on parental depression screening outside the postpartum period (child >12 months old). Data were included from 41 papers.

The researchers found that across the included studies, the proportion of positive parental depression screens was consistently high. Outside the postpartum period, there were relatively few structured screening programs, especially for fathers. Based on the included studies, screening in pediatric settings is feasible, but a major challenge posed is appropriate referral and follow-up of positive screens.

“These findings suggest that increased screening for parental depression across a wider age range and in a broader array of clinical settings has the potential to identify families in need of resources,” the authors write. “They also suggest that further research is required to assess the best practices for referral and follow-up of parents who screen positive for depressive symptoms to ensure they receive the support they need.”

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