Does Postpartum Depression Affect Employment?

Maria Elena Komodromou, university of essex

Depression in the postpartum period (PPD) is considered a major public health problem (Stewart et al., 2003; Hay et al., 2008; Chew-Graham et al., 2009). It is a relatively common psychological disorder following childbirth which, if left untreated, may have long-term adverse effects on women’s mental health. In the United Kingdom, 8%-15% of women suffer from the condition.However, empirical evidence regarding the effects of postpartum depression on maternal employment is very limited and despite ample evidence regarding its implications for the individual and society the effect of postpartum depression on women’s employment outcomes remains unaddressed. The present study explores the possible effects of postpartum depression on maternal employment in the UK, using data from the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) and a timespan covering several years (3 to 11 years after the birth). The findings of this study are of significance to policy makers as they indicate that PPD has a direct effect on maternal employment 5 years after the birth of the child and an indirect effect 7 and 11 years after the birth of the child, mediated through subsequent maternal mental and physical health problems

Presented in Session 17: Health Aspects of Birth and Parenthood