Society for Social Work and Research

Sixteenth Annual Conference Research That Makes A Difference: Advancing Practice and Shaping Public Policy
11-15 January 2012 I Grand Hyatt Washington I Washington, DC

75 Psychosocial Correlates of Postpartum Depression: Bridging Research and Practice

Friday, January 13, 2012: 2:30 PM-4:15 PM
Franklin Square (Grand Hyatt Washington)
Cluster: Mental Health
Symposium Organizer:
Nanmathi Manian, PhD, University Research Corporation
Sarah E. Bledsoe, PhD, MSW, MPhil, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
There is considerable evidence that postpartum depression is a potentially devastating condition that has adverse consequences for individual women, their families, and the health system (Barrera, Torez, & Munoz, 2007). Untreated postpartum disorders can have a range of poor functional outcomes including parenting, which can contribute to poorer socio-emotional and cognitive outcomes for the child. Recent estimates have ranged from 8- 20% for clinical depression and as high as 50% for depressive symptoms (Joseffson et al., 2001; O'Hara & Swain, 1996). A comprehensive approach to mental health service delivery during the postpartum period must be based on empirical evidence as to the causes, correlates, and consequences of postpartum depression. Factors most commonly associated with postpartum depression include parenting impairment, marital stress, perinatal loss, and lack of social support (Gonzalez et al., 2010; Manian & Bornstein, 2005). The purpose of the symposium is to critically examine the role of specific factors, concurrently and longitudinally, in ethnically and socioeconomically varied samples. The individual papers present new findings that underscore the need to adopt a contextual framework in assessing the phenomenology of parental depression in early childhood to increase the applicability of the findings in developing psychosocial prevention and intervention programs. Additionally, the papers use multi-informants and multimethod assessments for family functioning and child cognitive and socio-emotional outcomes in community based samples. Paper 1 investigates the role of perinatal loss as a predictor of maternal depressive symptoms and provides insight into help-seeking behaviors of women. Paper 2 examines the role of maternal clinical depression over the first 2 years postpartum, in a group of immigrant and native families. Taking a multivariate and longitudinal approach, the study investigates depression remission, services utilization, and family functioning within the context of psychosocial stressors differentially experienced by immigrant families. Paper 3 examines maternal depressive symptoms as a multidetermined construct at 3 years postpartum in low-income families. Taking into account the role of the father, the paper demonstrates the mediating role of parental stress along with the importance of family routines on children's early emotion-behavioral regulation. The discussant will integrate and contextualize these findings from a mental health services research perspective, and bring forth critical dialogue in issues of mental health intervention services across the lifespan.Thus, using community based samples, the papers together address gaps in extant research on postpartum depression and the role of the context in intensifying or ameliorating its effects on the individual women, family functioning and child outcomes. The studies represent a concerted effort to bring diverse literatures together and promote multidisciplinary efforts in finding solutions to the common and debilitating problem of postpartum depression. There is an increasing need to implement effective screening and referrals to mental health assessments in the perinatal period and to eventually develop psychosocial interventions for these women (Beardslee, Chien & Bell, 2011). The findings of these studies offer important implications in counseling and anticipatory guidance for these mothers and their families, and represent a critical step in informing public strategy in promoting family well-being.
* noted as presenting author
The Role of Perinatal Loss History In Low Income Women's Help-Seeking for Depression
Sarah Kye Price, PhD, Virginia Commonwealth University
The Contribution of Fathers' Parenting In a Mediated Model Between Maternal Depression, Child-Routines, and Emotional-Behavior Regulation Competence of Preschool Children In Low-Income Families
Michaela Farber, PhD, BCD, LCSW-C, The Catholic University of America; Lynn Milgram Mayer, MSW, PhD, The Catholic University of America
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