“Predictors of Postpartum Depression” by Katon et al.


The current paper discusses the issues that are connected to the occurrence of post-partum depression on the example described in the research article written by Katon, Russo, and Gavin (2014). It is expected that the article critique will help throughout the process of identifying the core implications inherent in post-partum depression. The importance of this problem can be supported by the interpersonal aspects of depression and its direct impact on the family environment (Benders-Hadi & Barber, 2014). Katon et al.’s (2014) article is accurately scrutinized to reach a verdict regarding the validity of this research project and the truthfulness of the outcomes.

Research Question

The research question that was developed by the authors of the study revolved around numerous socio-demographic problems that were previously associated with post-partum depression. Katon et al. (2014) were interested in scrutinizing the existing evidence concerning health risk behaviors and depression history to answer the question of whether there is a connection between birth outcomes and postpartum depression. It can be noticed that the prevalence of postpartum depression is a rather critical topic because it is commonly found in almost half of women that have given birth to a child recently (O’Hara, 2012). This particular research problem can be affected by the trend of single mothers and the fear of remaining alone combined with the stress that was accumulated during pregnancy.

Research Design

Within the framework of this study, the researchers made the best use of a prospective cohort research design. Most probably, this methodology was chosen over the others because it helped Katon et al. (2014) trace temporal sequence between the factors reviewed in the study and calculate the risk occurs in the most efficient way possible. One of the key strengths of the prospective cohort research design is that it does not utilize any baseline data and allows the researcher to eliminate the bias and examine the outcomes “on arrival.” The ultimate weakness, in turn, is that it is a rather time- and monetary-intensive research methodology and therefore, cannot be applied to certain rare diseases.

Research Sample

Within the framework of the reviewed article, 1423 women became the participants of the study. The sample was receiving prenatal care at the local facility for seven years (2004-2011). This sample size was adequate because it allowed the researchers to benefit from implementing a prospective cohort research design and assessing the participants throughout a long-term period. The intent of the study and the research question also was in line with the number of participants because the research question was rather accurate and allowed Katon et al. (2014) to approach the problem of post-partum depression from several certain perspectives. An inability to generalize the findings of the study was the only gap identified.

Data Collection Method

The data was collected by the clinic staff present at the facility using a Patient Health Questionnaire – 9 (PHQ-9). One part of the sample received one questionnaire, and the other received two (four and eight months of pregnancy respectively). The ethical considerations were accurately followed, but the main gap of the data collection process consisted in the fact that the hospital was rather busy and a certain percentage of questionnaires were not completed.

Limitations

One of the limitations of the study consists in the fact that the research was conducted within one facility only. Taking into consideration the specifics of the research, it should have covered more geographical regions. The second limitation was that the psychiatric interviews did not take into account BMI and social support. The third limitation revolved around the fact that alcohol use was underreported. In the subsequent studies, this limitation can be mitigated by either picking a different questionnaire or customizing the existing PHQ-9. The limitations should be addressed right away because they may help the researchers to receive the most accurate responses and generalize the obtained data accordingly.

Findings

According to Katon et al.’s (2014) findings, depressive symptoms are the most dangerous risk-generating factors throughout pregnancy. The authors of the research also found that the evaluation of post-partum depression can be seriously impacted by the limitations inherent in the PHQ-9 questionnaire. Katon et al. (2014) concluded that screening for depression is not an effective treatment method and should be replaced with cooperative depression care interventions. Depression-reducing intervention should be based on persistent symptoms to be effective. The findings of the study are in line with the research question and can be considered credible. This supposition is supported by the extensive body of evidence presented by the researchers.

Summary

Overall, Katon et al. (2014) presented new evidence regarding the development of post-partum depression and were able to align their findings with the research question that was posed at the beginning of the article. The conventional method of addressing depressive symptoms was found to be ineffective, and there is a necessity to investigate this area further. The findings can be easily implemented in practice because their real-world value is supported by the outcomes of the reviewed research project. The problem of post-partum stress should be addressed on a bigger scale to help researchers all over the world to find new interventions that are not based on conformist treatment options.

References

Benders-Hadi, N., & Barber, M. E. (2014). Motherhood, mental illness and recovery: Stories of hope. New York, NY: Springer.

Katon, W., Russo, J., & Gavin, A. (2014). Predictors of postpartum depression. Journal of Women’s Health, 23(9), 753-759. Web.

O’Hara, M. W. (2012). Postpartum depression: Causes and consequences. New York, NY: Springer.