Evid Based Nurs 7:61 doi:10.1136/ebn.7.2.61
  • Qualitative

Unacceptability of routine screening for postnatal depression was related to the screening process, the intrusiveness of questions, and the stigma of disease

 Q How do women experience routine screening by health visitors (HVs) using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS)?


Indepth interviews.


22 general practices in Oxford, UK.


39 women (mean age 34 y) were selected based on their registered general practice, EPDS scores at 8 weeks and 8 months, and whether listening visits were recorded (a proxy measure for postnatal depression). Exclusion criteria were inadequate English, age <16 years, learning disability, or infant death.


Women were interviewed at 11–19 months after delivery and asked about how they felt in the first 3 months after the birth and about completing the EPDS. Screening was judged “acceptable” if women gave positive or neutral responses to questions about the EPDS. Interviews were tape recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analysed using constant comparison. Data saturation was achieved.


21 women (54%) found screening for postnatal depression unacceptable. 3 themes explained this. (1) Women with negative …

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