Postpartum Depression: A Psychosocial and Health Literacy Perspective




Saravia, Daniel
Aggarwal, Amit
Wagner, Teresa


0000-0002-6403-6358 (Aggarwal, Amit)

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Postpartum Depression (PPD) is a major contributor to maternal morbidity in the United States (Robertson, Grace, Wallington, & Stewart, 2004). One in nine mothers is diagnosed with PPD (Ko, Rockhill, Tong, Marrow, & Farr, 2017). Specifically, a 2011 Texas state report estimated that 10.2% of mothers reported PPD symptoms. Additionally, PPD symptoms were more prevalent among Black mothers (11.9%) than White mothers (9.4%) (TXDSHS, 2011). Lastly, extensive research shows that low-income and ethnic minorities are less likely to seek professional assistance than White individuals (Kurtx, 2005; Song, Sands, & Wong, 2004). Mothers often do not recognize the abnormal emotions during the postpartum period, which signal PPD (Abrams, Dornig, & Curran 2009). Limited mental health literacy (MHL) hinders mental health (MH) service utilization and recognition of PPD symptoms. Research illustrates that mothers with PPD lacked knowledge about PPD, MH services available or how to access services. (Abrams et al., 2009; Holopanien, 2002). The current study aimed to determine whether mothers received appropriate PPD instruction by examining data collected from one-on-one interviews with a diverse sample of mothers residing in north Texas. 21 new mothers were interviewed as part of a pilot study on postpartum health literacy. Interviews were transcribed and coded conducting applied thematic analysis using the Integrated Model of Health Literacy. 33% of participants indicated a lack of PPD education provided at discharge. Results illustrate the need for providers to give more comprehensive postpartum instruction on PPD to facilitate diagnosis, understanding, and obtaining PPD MH services.