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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Employment, income, and education and prevalence of depressive symptoms during pregnancy: the Kyushu Okinawa Maternal and Child Health Study

Yoshihiro Miyake1*, Keiko Tanaka1 and Masashi Arakawa2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, Fukuoka University, Fukuoka, Japan

2 Course of Wellness, Graduate School of Tourism Sciences, University of the Ryukyus, Okinawa, Japan

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BMC Psychiatry 2012, 12:117  doi:10.1186/1471-244X-12-117

Published: 19 August 2012

Abstract

Background

Epidemiological evidence for the association of socioeconomic status with prenatal depression has been inconsistent. The current cross-sectional study examined the association between employment, job type, household income, and educational level and the prevalence of depressive symptoms during pregnancy.

Methods

Subjects were 1741 Japanese women. Depressive symptoms were defined as present when subjects had a Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale score of 16 or higher. Adjustment was made for age, gestation, region of residence, family structure, personal and family history of depression, smoking, secondhand smoke exposure at home and at work, employment, household income, and education.

Results

The prevalence of depressive symptoms during pregnancy was 19.3%. Compared with unemployment, employment, part-time employment, and full-time employment were significantly associated with a lower prevalence of depressive symptoms during pregnancy: the adjusted odds ratios (ORs) were 0.65 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.50 − 0.86), 0.66 (95% CI: 0.46 − 0.95), and 0.66 (95% CI: 0.48 − 0.90), respectively. Regarding the job type held, women with a professional or technical job and those with a clerical or related occupation had a significantly lower prevalence of depressive symptoms during pregnancy: the adjusted ORs were 0.67 (95% CI: 0.47 − 0.96) and 0.62 (95% CI: 0.43 − 0.90), respectively. Sales, service, production, and other occupations were not significantly related to the prevalence of depressive symptoms during pregnancy. There were no relationships between household income or education and the prevalence of depressive symptoms during pregnancy.

Conclusions

Employment, whether full-time or part-time, and holding a professional or technical job or a clerical or related occupation may be inversely associated with the prevalence of depressive symptoms during pregnancy.

Keywords:
Cross-sectional study; Depressive symptoms during pregnancy; Education; Employment; Income; Japanese