Child death and maternal psychosis-like experiences in 44 low- and middle-income countries: The role of depression

Ai Koyanagi, Hans Oh, Josep Maria Haro, Fumi Hirayama, Jordan DeVylder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Studies on the effect of child death on the mental wellbeing of women in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) are scarce despite the high child mortality rates. Thus, the aim of the current study was to assess the association between child death and psychosis-like experiences (PLEs), as well as the role of depression in this association. Methods Data from 44 LMICs which participated in the World Health Survey (WHS) were analyzed. A total of 59,444 women who ever gave birth, aged 18–49 years, without a self-reported lifetime psychosis diagnosis, were included in the analysis. The World Mental Health Survey version of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) was used to establish the diagnosis of past 12-month DSM-IV depression, and assess four positive psychotic symptoms. Depression was defined as self-reported lifetime depression diagnosis and/or past 12-month depression. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were performed. Results After adjustment for potential confounders, women who experienced child death had higher odds for all types of PLEs (when unadjusted for depression) (OR 1.20–1.71; p < 0.05) and depression (OR = 1.64; 95%CI = 1.39–1.93). When adjusted for depression, only delusion of control was strongly associated with child death (OR = 1.54; 95%CI = 1.20–1.97). Conclusions Child death may be an important determinant of mental wellbeing among women in LMICs. Given the known adverse health outcomes associated with PLEs and depression, as well as the co-occurrence of these symptoms, mental health care may be particularly important for mothers who have experienced child loss in LMICs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-46
Number of pages6
JournalSchizophrenia Research
StatePublished - May 1 2017


  • Child death
  • Depression
  • Low- and middle-income countries
  • Psychosis-like experience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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