Rurality and Risk of Perinatal Depression Among Women in the United States

Nichole Nidey, Karen M. Tabb, Knute D. Carter, Wei Bao, Lane Strathearn, Diane S. Rohlman, George Wehby, Kelli Ryckman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Rural populations may experience more frequent and intense risk factors for perinatal depression than their urban counterparts. However, research has yet to examine rural versus urban differences in a population-based study in the United States. Therefore, this study examined differences in risk of perinatal depression between women living in rural versus urban areas in the United States. Method: Using 2016 data from the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System, we examined the association between rural-urban status and the risk of depression during the perinatal time period. The total analytical sample included 17,229 women from 14 states. The association between rural-urban status and risk of perinatal depression was estimated using logistic regression, adjusting for race/ethnicity, maternal age, and state of residence. A second model adjusted for maternal education, health insurance status, and Women, Infants, and Children Special Supplemental Nutrition Program (WIC). Results: Odds of perinatal depression risk were higher by 21% among rural versus urban women (OR = 1.21, 95% CI: 1.05-1.41) adjusted for race, ethnicity, and maternal age. This risk difference became smaller and not significant when adding maternal education, health insurance coverage, and WIC participation. Conclusion: Findings suggest a rural-urban inequality in perinatal depression risk. Reducing this inequality may require improving socioeconomic conditions and reducing associated risk factors among rural women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-16
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Rural Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • health disparities
  • maternal health
  • perinatal depression
  • rural

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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