Postnatal depression (PND) was defined as “a non-psychotic depressive illness of moderate severity which would begin or extend for a period of time after childbirth” (Chan, 2002). PND wreaks havoc not only on mothers but it also has a moderate to large adverse effect on mother-infant interaction (Beck, 1998), children’s cognitive and emotional functioning, and marital relationship (Chan, 2002). Identifying the risk factors of PND and providing early interventions are the first steps in dealing with the problem (Beck, 1998). The aim of this essay is therefore to critique the social and cultural factors contributing to recent patterns and predicted trend in the rate of postnatal depression in Hong Kong. Recent patterns and predicted trends
In 1980, epidemiological studies suggested that there is no PND in Chinese population (Lee, Yip, Leung & Chung, 2001). However after two decades of rapid socio-cultural transformation, Hong Kong women are no longer protected from PND. PND affects 10-20% of recently delivered Hong Kong women (Chan, Levy, Chung and Lee, 2002) and 6000 new cases had been diagnosed each year while the trend of incidence is predicted as continue rising (Lee & Chung, 1999). Studies showed that there are many socio-cultural factors causing PND included child care stress, life stress, lack of social support (Williams, 2005), personality vulnerability, past depression, marital dissatisfaction, altered body image or perhaps financial problem (Beck, 1998; Dennis, Janssen, Singer, 2004). However, due to the combined Chinese and Western cultures in Hong Kong, there are several unique factors contribute to the recent patterns and rising trend in the rate of PND. Social and cultural factors contribute to PND in Hong Kong
Modern Adaptations of postnatal customs
Traditionally, Chinese women are still regarded as vulnerable after delivery and they should adhere to numerous cultural practice, rituals, and proscriptions such as ‘Zuo Yue’ and...