Food insufficiency, depression, and the role of social support

Evidence from a population-based, prospective cohort of pregnant women in peri-urban SA

This study estimates the association between food insufficiency and depression symptom severity, and determines the extent to which observed associations were modified by social support.

The research includes a secondary analysis of population-based, longitudinal data collected from 1 238 pregnant women during a three-year cluster-randomised trial of a home visiting intervention in Cape Town. Surveys were conducted at baseline, 6 months, 18 months, and 36 months. A validated, single-item food insufficiency measure inquired about the number of days of hunger in the past week. Depression symptom severity was measured using the Xhosa version of the 10-item Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale.

The Philani Maternal, Child Health and Nutrition Project has been addressing child health and nutrition problems in informal settlements around Cape Town since 1979. Ilifa Labantwana supported the evaluation of the study in Khayelitsha, Cape Town. The findings of this research stem from this evaluation.

Written by Alexander C. Tsai, Mark Tomlinson, W. Scott Comulada and Mary Jane Rotheram-Borus. Published by Elsevier in 2016.

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