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      Communication Across Maternal Social Networks During England’s First National Lockdown and Its Association With Postnatal Depressive Symptoms


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          Postnatal/postpartum depression (PND/PPD) had a pre-COVID-19 estimated prevalence ranging up to 23% in Europe, 33% in Australia, and 64% in America, and is detrimental to both mothers and their infants. Low social support is a key risk factor for developing PND. From an evolutionary perspective this is perhaps unsurprising, as humans evolved as cooperative childrearers, inherently reliant on social support to raise children. The coronavirus pandemic has created a situation in which support from social networks beyond the nuclear family is likely to be even more important to new mothers, as it poses risks and stresses for mothers to contend with; whilst at the same time, social distancing measures designed to limit transmission create unprecedented alterations to their access to such support. Using data from 162 mothers living in London with infants aged ≤6 months, we explore how communication with members of a mother’s social network related to her experience of postnatal depressive symptoms during the first “lockdown” in England. Levels of depressive symptoms, as assessed via the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale, were high, with 47.5% of the participants meeting a ≥11 cut-off for PND. Quasi-Poisson regression modelling found that the number of network members seen in-person, and remote communication with a higher proportion of those not seen, was negatively associated with depressive symptoms; however, contact with a higher proportion of relatives was positively associated with symptoms, suggesting kin risked seeing mothers in need. Thematic qualitative analysis of open text responses found that mothers experienced a burden of constant mothering, inadequacy of virtual contact, and sadness and worries about lost social opportunities, while support from partners facilitated family bonding. While Western childrearing norms focus on intensive parenting, and fathers are key caregivers, our results highlight that it still “takes a village” to raise children in high-income populations and mothers are struggling in its absence.

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          Detection of postnatal depression. Development of the 10-item Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale

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            Prevalence of Depression Symptoms in US Adults Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic

            Key Points Question What is the burden of depression symptoms among US adults during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic compared with before COVID-19, and what are the risk factors associated with depression symptoms? Findings In this survey study that included 1441 respondents from during the COVID-19 pandemic and 5065 respondents from before the pandemic, depression symptom prevalence was more than 3-fold higher during the COVID-19 pandemic than before. Lower income, having less than $5000 in savings, and having exposure to more stressors were associated with greater risk of depression symptoms during COVID-19. Meaning These findings suggest that there is a high burden of depression symptoms in the US associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and that this burden falls disproportionately on individuals who are already at increased risk.
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              AIC model selection and multimodel inference in behavioral ecology: some background, observations, and comparisons


                Author and article information

                Front Psychol
                Front Psychol
                Front. Psychol.
                Frontiers in Psychology
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                11 May 2021
                11 May 2021
                : 12
                : 648002
                [1] 1UCL Anthropology , University College London, London, United Kingdom
                [2] 2BirthRites Independent Max Planck Research Group , Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany
                Author notes

                Edited by: Marjorie L. Prokosch, University of Florida, United States

                Reviewed by: Jessica Ayers, Arizona State University, United States; Kristin Snopkowski, Boise State University, United States

                *Correspondence: Sarah Myers, sarah.myers@ 123456ucl.ac.uk

                This article was submitted to Evolutionary Psychology, a section of the journal Frontiers in Psychology

                Copyright © 2021 Myers and Emmott.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                : 31 December 2020
                : 12 April 2021
                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 3, Equations: 0, References: 120, Pages: 16, Words: 0
                Original Research

                Clinical Psychology & Psychiatry
                postnatal depression,covid-19,social distancing,lockdown,mothers,cooperative breeding,maternal social networks


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