Violence Against Women and Postpartum Depression: The Experience of Chilean Women

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16 Scopus citations


This article is based on the findings from a cross-sectional study of women (N = 163) who were at least two weeks postpartum and attending primary care clinics in Arica, Chile. The researcher in this study examined the prevalence of history of violence and its association with postpartum depression. The Women Abuse Screen and the Postpartum Depression Screening Scale-Spanish version were used to assess interpersonal violence and postpartum depression. A history of violence was reported by 64% of the women. Of those who experienced abuse, 44% reported ongoing abuse during their pregnancy. Women who experienced violence screened positive for elevated symptoms categories of postpartum depression such as anxiety/insecurity, emotional lability, and mental confusion compared to women who had not experienced violence. Postpartum depression symptom reporting decreased with increasing number of pregnancies (OR = 0.70, 95% CI 0.54-0.97) and greater social support (OR = 0.64, 95% CI 0.46-0.88). Postpartum depression symptom reporting increased with smoking (OR = 1.71, 95% CI 1.00-2.86), and with reporting history of violence (OR = 1.79, 95% CI 1.24-2.34). Acknowledgment of the strong association between domestic violence and postpartum depression should lead to routine screening during prenatal and postpartum periods as a way to isolate risk for postpartum depression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)437-453
Number of pages17
JournalWomen and Health
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was funded by the Universidad de Tarapaca, Arica, Chile, Research Grant VRA #0.559/2007, code 4751–07, awarded to Dr. Quelopana while on the faculty of the College of Midwifery for the research project, “Association of Violence and Postpartum Depression in Arica.” The author would like to acknowledge Macarena Utreras, a certified Chilean Midwife, for her valuable collaboration in the data collection process; Dr. Lynne Hall, Associate Dean for Research and Scholarship, University of Louisville College of Nursing, for her contribution improving this article; and Dr. Mary Kay Rayens, Statistician, University of Kentucky College of Nursing, for statistical assistance.


  • Chilean women
  • postpartum depression
  • violence against women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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