Year of Publication

2016

Degree Name

Master of Science in Family Sciences (MSFS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Agriculture, Food and Environment

Department

Family Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Jason D. Hans

Abstract

Postpartum Depression (PPD) has gained well-deserved traction in healthcare policy discourse as a public health concern. Although one in seven American women are believed to experience PPD, mental illness stigma induces feelings of shame and guilt, reduces treatment-seeking behaviors, and ultimately contributes to a low PPD diagnosis rate. Risk of experiencing PPD is associated with various contextual factors, yet little is known about the association between stigma and PPD risk factors. A multiple-segment factorial vignette was used with 1,871 respondents to examine the impact of maternal age, depression history, infant temperament, and diagnosis on attitudes toward PPD. In addition, the impact of an educational video on PPD symptom recognition and stigmatizing attitudes was examined with a subsample of 1,178 respondents. Results demonstrated that a mother’s age, history of depression, and her infant’s temperament impacted respondents’ attribution of her symptoms to baby blues or PPD, and also influenced stigmatizing attitudes toward her PPD experience. Results also revealed that the educational video had a positive effect on symptom recognition and reduced stigmatizing views. Implications of these findings are discussed.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

http://dx.doi.org/10.13023/ETD.2016.099

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