There is previous research linking preterm birth and postpartum depression, but the FIU study is apparently the first to look at this relationship in Hispanic and African American women specifically.
One hundred two women with babies between three and 10 months old completed two validated self-report depression screenings. Researchers found that 30% of the mothers had had preterm births, and 17% exhibited postpartum depressive symptoms. Preterm delivery had a significant effect on both postpartum depression risk and negative affect in the infants. Additionally, researchers noted an indirect link between postpartum depressive symptoms and negative affect in the infants.
The findings confirm the necessity for early and frequent screening for postpartum depressive symptoms, particularly in women with infants born preterm. As well, it emphasizes the need to get at the root of the problem of higher preterm births in women of color. The CDC states that the rate of preterm birth for African American women is 1.5 times the rate for white women.