Perinatal depression in women from culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) backgrounds

In 2022 Dr Katherine Sevar, and her research team were awarded the prestigious Pat, Toni, and Peter Kinsman Research Scholarship. 

Perinatal mental health disorders are the most common complication of pregnancy and research has focussed mainly on Australian-born cohorts, and as such, there is a current gap in our knowledge regarding the prevalence and severity of perinatal mental health disorders in women from CaLD backgrounds. In recent years the largest increase in people born outside of Australia is those born in the Indian subcontinent with migration exceeding any other country to Australia which makes understanding the needs of this group particularly important to ensure the development of culturally appropriate and adapted perinatal mental health services. 

The Kinsman Research Scholarship has made it possible to begin recruitment of 150 women into a prospective, longitudinal cohort design using the currently established protocol through the Mercy Pregnancy and Emotional Wellbeing Study (MPEWS), to examine the maternal, neonatal, and infant outcomes in women with depression and anxiety in pregnancy and to explore the risk and protective factors for the development of perinatal depression. 

It is proposed that 150 women from the Indian subcontinent (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka) who have migrated to Australia will be recruited into the study, given that as a group, they are highly represented in the census data for Dandenong (ABS 2016)/Monash Health, where the study will be conducted. 

At recruitment, women will be allocated to one of two groups: 1) a group diagnosed with depression (past and current) using the Structured Clinical Interview for the DSM‐5 TR Axis I Disorders (SCID‐5); 2) a non‐depressed group also established using the SCID 5 in early pregnancy. 

The women will be followed until 12 months postpartum, with further measures taken at birth and six months postpartum. A research coordinator will use funding from the Kinsman grant to oversee recruitment and retention in the study. We hope to be able to explore the differences in risk and protective factors for the development of perinatal depression in this group and women who are Australian born, ultimately to be then able to design culturally sensitive perinatal psychiatric services. 

Learn more about The Pat, Toni and Peter Kinsman Research Scholarship

The RANZCP Foundation funds clinical research in psychiatry
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