Seasonality, Food Insecurity, and Clinical Depression in Post-Partum Women in a Rural Malawi Setting
OBJECTIVES/OBJECTIVE:We evaluate the association between food insecurity (FI) and clinical depression, and the modifying effects of seasonality on this association. METHODS:Food insecurity is assessed from 175 post-partum women in the rural Ntcheu District of central Malawi using the USAID's Household Food Insecurity Access Scale (HFIAS). Clinical depression is measured using a validated Chichewa version of the Self-Reporting Questionnaire (SRQ). Interviews were conducted from October 2016 to June 2017 and spanned 5 months of the dry season (April-November) and the 4 months of rainy season (December-March). RESULTS:After adjusting for age and parity, participants who reported high FI (HFIAS scoreâ€‰â‰¥â€‰9) had 4.6 (95%CI 1.8-11.4) times the odds of meeting the cut-off for clinical depression (SRQ scoreâ€‰â‰¥â€‰8). The effect was greater during the dry season (OR 9.9; 95%CI 2.0-48.6), than in the rainy season (OR 2.6; 95%CI 0.8-8.3) though the interaction term was not statistically significant (pâ€‰=â€‰0.18) CONCLUSIONS FOR PRACTICE: High FI is associated with diagnostic markers of clinical depression.