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BackgroundPoor maternal mental health during childhood hospitalization is associated with post-discharge child mortality. We aimed to establish if maternal PHQ-9 scores during hospitalization are associated with acute stressors, or longer trends in mental health status.MethodMothers of children admitted to nine hospitals in six countries completed a PHQ-9 assessment during hospitalization, and 45-days post-discharge. Community participants were recruited from homes near the hospitalized children. The prevalence and correlates of high PHQ-9 scores among hospitalized and community mothers were compared.OutcomesAmong 2762 mothers of hospitalized children, 514 (19 %) had PHQ-9 scores ≥10, significantly more than the 116 (10 %, p InterpretationAmong mothers of hospitalized children, there are subgroups with transient and persistent depressive symptoms. Interventions tailored to address acute stressors may improve post-discharge paediatric and maternal health outcomes.FundingBill & Melinda Gates Foundation OPP1131320.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of affective disorders

Publication Date



Department of Psychiatry, Larkin Community Hospital, United States of America; Department of Global Health, University of Washington, United States of America. Electronic address:


Childhood Acute Illness and Nutrition (CHAIN) Network Investigators