Perfectionism dimensions in major postpartum depression

Estel Gelabert, Susana Subirà, Lluisa García-Esteve, Purificación Navarro, Anna Plaza, Elisabet Cuyàs, Ricard Navinés, Mònica Gratacòs, Manuel Valdés, Rocío Martín-Santos

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45 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Although perfectionism from a multidimensional perspective has generally been associated with depressive illness, there are not many studies on its role in major depression in the postnatal period. The aim of the present study was to explore the relationship between perfectionism dimensions using the Frost Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale (FMPS) and major postpartum depression. Methods: One-hundred-twenty-two women with major postpartum depression (SCID-I; DSM-IV) and 115 healthy postpartum women were evaluated using the FMPS, an instrument for the assessment of six perfectionism dimensions: concern over mistakes, personal standards, parental expectations, parental criticism, doubt about actions and organisation. Other variables were also considered: neuroticism, psychiatric history, social support, life events and genotype combinations according to serotonin transporter expression (5-HTTLPR and Stin2 VNTR polymorphisms). Results: The prevalence of high-perfectionism was higher in major postpartum depression group than in control group (34% vs. 11%; p < 0.001). Multivariate models confirmed high-perfectionism as an independent factor associated with major postpartum depression. Specifically, the high-concern over mistakes dimension increased over four-fold the odds of major depression in postpartum period. (OR = 4.14; 95% CI = 1.24 - 13.81) Neuroticism, personal psychiatric history and 5-HTT low-expressing genotypes at one of the loci were also identified as independent factors. Conclusions: High-perfectionism, and particularly high-concern over mistakes is a personality dimension associated with major postpartum depression. The inclusion of perfectionism assessment, together with others factors, may be considered in order to improve the detection of women at risk of postpartum depression, in whom early intervention may be of benefit. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-25
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012


  • 5-HTTLPR
  • Frost Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale Neuroticism
  • Perfectionism
  • Pospartum depression
  • Stin2 VNTR


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