Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation
Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences
Public Health Sciences with a specialization in Health Promotion, PhD
Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)
Postpartum depression; Jamaica; maternal mental health; coping
The purpose of this study was to explore the lived experiences of Jamaican women with postpartum depression (PPD). It is estimated globally, postpartum depression impacts 10-20% of women. In Jamaica, rates exceed global averages, with 26-60% of women experiencing PPD. Untreated maternal depression poses a significant physical, social, and economic threat to Jamaican women, children, and society as a whole. This study affirms that maternal mental health and postpartum depression are global public health concerns. There are limited studies that have examined PPD in Jamaican women, especially qualitatively. This research study utilized a qualitative descriptive approach to examine PPD experiences with eleven Jamaican mothers. Data was collected using individual semi-structured interviews with mothers in Kingston, Jamaica. Key findings from this research study confirm that PPD exists in Jamaica, though experiences varied. Postpartum depression symptoms were influenced by maternal lived experience including personal and children’s health concerns pregnancy to postpartum, and various stressors. Mothers in the study were generally undiagnosed and unaware of what postpartum depression was. Both PPD knowledge including the lack of or limited education/awareness and PPD perceptions including stigma impacted mothers’ identification with PPD and coping. The results, also reveal that the ability to manage or cope with PPD was connected to support. Mothers’ experiences of support included self, social, and technological support. Positive coping strategies and social support were key protective factors in Jamaican mother’s experience. Technological support such as apps and websites were described favorably by mothers in the study for practical support. Additionally, Jamaican women described a culture of coping which included beliefs, values, and practices related to religion/spirituality, strength/responsibility and gender imbalances experienced by mothers. These findings indicate the need for strengthening social and economic supports for mothers. Practical implications for the study, recommend maternal and paternal support groups and more education related to maternal mental health issues within healthcare settings. Moreover, policies for maternity, paternity and family leave should continue to be offered and expanded in Jamaica. Future research focusing on holistic care, coping, and Jamaican mothers from various backgrounds including gender, diversity, disability, healthcare access, and life experiences is necessary.
Elmore, Shakeyrah, "Postpartum depression in Jamaica: Exploring the lived experiences." (2023). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Paper 4107.