Maternal adverse childhood experiences and postpartum depressive symptoms in young, low-income women

Sunny H. Shin, Gabriela Ksinan Jiskrova, Tiffany Kimbrough, Karen Tabb Dina, Elizabeth Overall Lee, Carl E. Ayers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Exposure to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), such as child maltreatment and family dysfunction, is highly prevalent. Previous research has shown an association between ACEs and adult depression. The aim of the current study was to expand the existing literature by testing the association between ACEs and postpartum depression (PPD) symptoms in an urban, ethnically diverse sample of women. Methods: Participants (N = 746; ages 18–47; mean age = 27.3) were recruited at a large, urban university medical center as part of the Longitudinal Infant and Family Environment (LIFE) study. The association between ACEs and PPD symptoms were tested via hierarchical linear regression models. Results: The majority of the participants (61%) reported experiencing at least one type of ACEs prior to age 18. ACEs were positively associated with PPD symptoms (β = .29, p < .001), controlling for maternal race/ethnicity, age, educational attainment, marital status, household income, and infant gender and birth order. Conclusions: The results showed that exposure to ACEs was related to PPD symptoms among low-income women. Screenings for ACEs during prenatal checkups may help identify women at risk of depression and facilitate timely prevention and treatment efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number113679
JournalPsychiatry Research
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • Adverse childhood experiences
  • Low-income women
  • Postpartum depression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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