Gebreyesus SH, Endris BS, Hanlon C, Lindtjorn B: Maternal depression symptoms are highly prevalent among food-insecure households in Ethiopia. Public Health Nutr 2017:1-8.
Objective: We aimed to evaluate the association between household food insecurity and maternal depression in Ethiopia.
Design/Setting/Subjects: In 2014, we conducted a cross-sectional study in southern Ethiopia, including 591 food-secure and 2500 food-insecure households. We measured depression status of women using the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 validated for Ethiopia, with a cut-off of ≥5. We evaluated household-level food insecurity using a validated Household Food Insecurity Access Scale. We applied Bayesian modelling to evaluate the relationship between food insecurity and maternal depression accounting for other observed characteristics.
Results: Among the analytic sample, 80·8 (95 % CI 79·4, 82·2) % of women were living in food-insecure households. The overall prevalence of probable depression (mild and moderate forms) was 4·7 (95 % CI 4·1, 5·6) %. All individual depressive symptoms had a significantly higher prevalence in the food-insecure group, except for suicidal ideation (but small numbers; P < 0·001). In the Bayesian model adjusting for paternal characteristics, there was a significant dose–response linear relationship (trend) between household food insecurity and maternal depression (P<0·01). The adjusted OR (95% Bayesian credible interval) for depression for differing levels of food insecurity were: mild food insecurity, 3·29 (1·63, 6·18); moderate, 3·82 (1·91, 7·45); severe, 12·50 (3·38, 32·70).
Conclusions: The study documented a high burden of depression among women who lived in food-insecure households. Given this finding, we recommend integrating mental health in the livelihood programmes in areas suffering from food insecurity.