Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale

The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale is a tool used to screen women who have given birth in the last six to eight weeks for depression.  The Scale is not a diagnostic tool, but it can help determine if a woman should be referred for a depression diagnosis.

Unless there are literacy concerns, the mother should complete the tool herself.  She should answer the questions without speaking with anyone.



Administration Method
Number of Questions
Creator(s) of Tool
Cox, J. L., Holden, J. M. & Sagovsky, R. (1987) Detection of postnatal depression: Development of the 10-item Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. British Journal of Psychiatry, 150, 782-786.
Scoring / Benchmarking
Each question is scored with a 0, 1, 2, or 3 as explained below:

Questions 1, 2, & 4
The questions are scored as 0, 1, 2 or 3, with answers marking the top box scored as 0 and the bottom box scored as 3.

Questions 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, & 10 (marked with an *)
The questions are reverse scored, with answers marking the top box scored as a 3 and the bottom box scored as 0.

The maximum score is 30.
Women that have scores of 9 or more, or have a score of 1 or higher on question 10 are at risk for depression and should be referred for follow-up.

If the person administering the scale is concerned about the mother's mental health state despite a score below 9, the mother should be referred for diagnosis anyway to err on the side of caution.
Background / Quality
High validity and reliability.
Is there a cost associated with this tool?
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