Post-adoption depression among adoptive mothers

Yehuda Senecky, Hanoch Agassi, Dov Inbar, Netta Horesh, Gary Diamond, Yoav S. Bergman, Alan Apter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Objective: To evaluate the rate of depressive symptomatology and possible underlying factors in adoptive mothers during the transition to motherhood. Design: Cohort survey. Setting: General Community. Participants: Thirty-nine adoptive mothers of reproductive age registered with international adoption agencies. Interventions: All women completed the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS), the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), and the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI) before and 6 weeks after the adoption. Main outcome measures: Responses were compared between the study group and published findings for biological mothers in the general population, and within the study group, before and after adoption. Results: Symptoms of depression were found in 15.4% of the study group. This rate was similar to that for postpartum depression in the general population, and lower than the rate recorded in the study group before adoption (25.6%). All women with symptoms of depression after the adoption had also shown evidence of depressive features before the adoption. Similar findings were noted for other psychopathologies as well. Conclusion: Adopting a child does not cause new-onset, reactive depression among adoptive mothers. It may even lead to a decrease in depressive features, perhaps in response to relief from other adjustment difficulties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-68
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - May 2009


  • Adoption
  • Depression
  • International adoption
  • Pstpartum depression


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