Date of Award

2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Social Work

Abstract

A purposive convenience sample was used in this mixed methods study. Fifteen postpartum women were given four questionnaires and participated in a brief oral interview. The questionnaires included the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale, the McPhee Scale, the Maternal Attitudes Questionnaire, and the Post-Partum Quality of Life. As determined by the questionnaires, a correlation was found between level of competence and level of depression such that the less competent a woman felt, the more depressed she felt. The hypothesis tested in this study was that postpartum depression occurs when complicated early attachments have not been modified by either a sense of efficacy in one's new role as a mother or social supports existing during the time of new motherhood. This study did not confirm the hypothesis. What was revealed through this study was that previous attachment was important, but not the most important mitigating factor in preventing postpartum depression. The most important finding discovered was that perceived support by the new mother was the most protective factor during the postpartum period. Also, postpartum depression was powerfully related to the mother's sense of competence.

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