Increased levels of depressive symptoms among pregnant women in the Netherlands after the crash of flight MH17

Sophie E. M. Truijens, Carola A. M. Boerekamp, Viola Spek, Maarten J. M. van Son, S. Guid Oei, Victor J. M. Pop

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On July 17, 2014, Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down, a tragedy that shocked the Dutch population. As part of a large longitudinal survey on mental health in pregnant women that had a study inclusion period of 19 months, we were able to evaluate the possible association of that incident with mood changes using pre- and postdisaster data. We compared mean Edinburgh Depression Scale (EDS) scores from a group of women (n = 126 cases) at 32 weeks’ gestation during the first month after the crash with mean scores from a control group (n = 102) with similar characteristics who completed the EDS at 32 weeks’ gestation during the same summer period in 2013. The mean EDS scores of the 126 case women in the first month after the crash were significantly higher than the scores of 102 control women. There were no differences in mean EDS scores between the 2 groups at the first and second trimesters. The present study is among the first in which perinatal mental health before and after the occurrence of a disaster has been investigated, and the results suggest that national disasters might lead to emotional responses.
Keywords: depression, disaster, Edinburgh Depression Scale, life event, mourning, perinatal mental health, pregnancy, psychological distress
Topic: pregnancy, emotion, depressive disorders, disasters, malaysia, mental health, netherlands, mood, perinatal period, depression scale

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)426-430
JournalAmerican Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • depression
  • disaster
  • Edinburgh Depression Scale
  • life event
  • mourning
  • perinatal mental health
  • pregnancy
  • psychological distress

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