Facebook May Help Identify Postpartum Depression

Press Association via AP Images
Press Association via AP Images

A report submitted on Valentine’s Day at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science stated Facebook may be able to identify mothers suffering from postpartum depression. Munmun De Choudhury of Georgia Tech and her colleagues at Microsoft Research in Redmond, Washington, analyzed the Facebook activity of 165 different mothers before and after the birth of their children, as well as interviewing the women and having them take a depression-screening questionnaire.

The researchers found that the mothers suffering from post-partum depression were not only less active, they eschewed revealing what they were feeling and posted content that was unemotional in nature and designed to elicit advice on how to deal with a matter at hand. The scientists claimed that a computer program could be created to detect which mothers suffered from post-partum depression, thus identifying troubled mothers and interceding with them so they could get help.

The American Psychological Association states that “an estimated nine to 16 percent of postpartum women will experience PPD. Among women who have already experienced PPD following a previous regnancy, some prevalence estimates increase to 41 percent.”