Different ways of using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS)

The 10-item Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS), which relies on self-report, is an established screening tool for monitoring depressive symptoms in the postnatal period. It is usually used as a single score with variable cut-offs and has been used in longitudinal research studies, in many cross sectional studies on maternal wellbeing, as well as in clinical practice.

Inconsistent findings and replication difficulties have limited use of the EPDS as a multi-dimensional tool.

A newly published study by Maggie Redshaw and Colin Martin focuses on the factor structure and different models that have been reported in identifying possible dimensions within the scale. Participants were two samples of postpartum women in England assessed at three months and six months using 2016 Maternity Survey data. The findings indicate a multidimensional measure, with a three-factor seven-item EPDS model, reflecting anxiety, depression and anhedonia (a reduced ability to feel pleasure) fitting the data best in both datasets. The use of the sub-scale components identified requires further investigation with a range of populations in both research and clinical practice contexts.     

You can read the study "Establishing a coherent and replicable measurement model of the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale" which is published in Psychiatry Research.