The Association Between Maternal Age and Depression Academic Article uri icon

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  • Objective

    Postpartum depression is a relatively common and potentially debilitating condition but its relationship with advanced maternal age has not been adequately studied. We evaluated the relationship between age and depression in a population-based sample of Canadian women.


    Data on women aged 20 to 44 years were obtained from the Canadian Community Health Survey, 2007 to 2008. Depression was defined using the Short-Form score from the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (depression defined as a score of ≥ 5). Women were stratified according to whether they had a live birth within five years preceding the interview. Logistic regression was used to compare the prevalence of depression among women of advanced maternal age versus younger women after adjusting for education, marital status, and chronic disease.


    Among women who had delivered recently, 8.0% (207 of 2326) were depressed compared with 10% (597 of 5610) of women who had not recently delivered. The prevalence of depression in women who had recently delivered was significantly higher in women aged 40 to 44 years than in women aged 30 to 35 years (adjusted OR 3.72; 95% CI 2.15 to 6.41). Depression rates were not higher among older women who had not had a recent delivery (adjusted OR among women 40 to 44 years 0.75; 95% CI 0.56 to 1.01).


    Women of advanced maternal age have significantly higher rates of depression than younger women. Research is required to determine if a program of targeted depression screening and prevention will help reduce the burden of illness among older mothers.

publication date

  • September 2014