UBC Faculty Research and Publications

The PPD-ACT app in Canada : feasibility and a latent class analysis of participants with postpartum depression recruited to a psychiatric genetics study using a mobile application Collaton, Joanna; Dennis, Cindy-Lee; Taylor, Valerie H.; Grigoriadis, Sophie; Oberlander, Tim F.; Frey, Benicio N.; Van Lieshout, Ryan; Guintivano, Jerry; Meltzer-Brody, Samantha; Kennedy, James L.; et al.


Background: Postpartum depression (PPD) and postpartum psychosis (PPP) are linked to negative consequences for women and families. Virtual applications present a solution to the challenge of recruiting large samples for genetic PPD/PPP research. This study aimed to evaluate the feasibility of a protocol for enrolling Canadian women with PPD and PPP to a large international psychiatric genetics study using a mobile application (PPD-ACT), and identify clinically distinct subtypes of PPD in the recruited sample. Methods: From April 2017–June 2019, Canadian women provided phenotypic data through the PPD-ACT app. Requests for a genetic sample were made from those with a current or past PPD episode based on an Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) score > 12 with onset in pregnancy or 0–3 months postpartum, and from those self-reporting lifetime PPP. Latent class analysis (LCA) was used to identify clinically distinct PPD subgroups based on participant responses to the EPDS scale. Results: We identified 797 PPD cases, 404 of whom submitted DNA. There were 109 PPP cases, with 66 submitting DNA. PPD cases (86.7% White, mean 4.7 +/− 7.0 years since their episode) came from across Canadian provinces/territories. LCA identified two PPD classes clinically distinct by symptom severity: [1] moderate-severity (mean EPDS = 18.5+/− 2.5; 8.6% with suicidality), and [2] severe (mean EPDS = 24.5+/− 2.1; 52.8% with suicidality). Conclusions: A mobile application rapidly collected data from individuals with moderate and severe symptoms of PPD, an advantage for genetics where specificity is optimal, as well as from women with a history of PPP, supporting future work using this approach.

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