Education level and risk of postpartum depression: Results from the Japan Environment and Children's Study (JECS)

Kenta Matsumura, Kei Hamazaki, Akiko Tsuchida, Haruka Kasamatsu, Hidekuni Inadera, Michihiro Kamijima, Shin Yamazaki, Yukihiro Ohya, Reiko Kishi, Nobuo Yaegashi, Koichi Hashimoto, Chisato Mori, Shuichi Ito, Zentaro Yamagata, Hidekuni Inadera, Takeo Nakayama, Hiroyasu Iso, Masayuki Shima, Youichi Kurozawa, Narufumi SuganumaKoichi Kusuhara, Takahiko Katoh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Lower socioeconomic status is often thought to be associated with an elevated risk of postpartum depression; however, this relationship exhibits noticeable heterogeneity between studies. The present study examined this relationship in Japan. Methods: Data were obtained from 90,194 mothers in an ongoing birth cohort of the Japan Environment and Children's Study. Socioeconomic status was assessed based on the mothers' highest education level during pregnancy. Postpartum depression was identified at 1 and 6 months postpartum based on an Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale score of ≥9, and analyses were also performed based on the sub-scores for anxiety, depression, and anhedonia symptoms. Logistic and generalized linear regression model analyses were used to calculate odds ratios for postpartum depression according to education level with the highest education group (≥16 years of education) defined as the reference group, while controlling for covariates in a stepwise fashion. Results: Univariate analysis revealed that a lower education level was associated with a higher prevalence of postpartum depression and related symptoms. Although these relationships weakened in the fully adjusted models, odds ratios for cases and related symptoms remained significant at 1 and 6 months postpartum. Among three symptom dimensions, the relationship was strongest and weakest in the depressive and anxiety symptoms, respectively. Conclusions: A lower education level was an independent risk factor for postpartum depression. In view of the low mobility of the education level, this finding suggests the potential importance of collecting information regarding education levels at the earliest opportunity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number419
JournalBMC Psychiatry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Dec 27


  • Income
  • Longitudinal study
  • Occupation
  • Perinatal depression
  • Postpartum anxiety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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