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Shamira Ramos-Ayala, M.S., Ph.D Candidate, Family Therapy

How Culture Affects the Way Hispanic Mothers Experience Postpartum Depression

Sarah Woods, Ph.D., Chair
Linda Brock, Ph.D., Member
Joel Muro, Ph.D., Member

Human Development Building Room  204
May 9, 2017 @ 1:00 pm
All TWU faculty. staff. and students are invited to attend


Research on postpartum depression among ethnic populations is limited. Furthermore, the literature lacks investigations that focus on how cultural variables impact this mental health issues in Hispanic mothers. Studies have repeatedly identified risk factors for onset of maternal depression in Hispanic women but once diagnosed, little is known about how culture influences this lived experience. Clinicians need current cultural knowledge and refined skills sets to better serve ethnic mothers and their families.

The purpose of this qualitative study was to gain insight on how culture affects the way Hispanic mothers experience postpartum depression. Nine mothers who experienced postpartum depression during the past three years were interviewed for this study. Participants were asked one structured question upon initiating the interview, followed up by semi-structured questions and probes to gather participantsí in-depth perceptions of the research topic. Interviews were transcribed and coded for common themes. As a result four major themes emerged: Revolutionizing Cultural Beliefs and Messages, Mi Familia, Martyrdom, and What Helped Me Overcome or Superar.

Marriage and family therapists need to be mindful of using culturally sensitive practices when working with Hispanic families experiencing the effects of postpartum depression. By tapping into cultural perceptions, therapists can systemically improve mothersí emotional well-being, couple and family relationships, and child outcomes. Research efforts on mental health issues in Hispanic populations may help encourage help-seeking behaviors for mothers. Once help is sought, therapists and social services need to cautiously consider cultural variables in their treatment modalities with Hispanic families.

page last updated 6/6/2017 8:45 AM