How do women's self-report symptoms impact on identification of perinatal mental health problems

Jarrett, Patricia (2017) How do women's self-report symptoms impact on identification of perinatal mental health problems. Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, 12 (3). pp. 173-187. ISSN 1755-6228 (doi:10.1108/JMHTEP-06-2016-0029)

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Abstract

Purpose: Perinatal depression is common and increases the risk of adverse outcomes for both the mother and child. Despite regular contact with midwives and GPs during the perinatal period less than 50% of women with depression are identified and treated. A number of reasons for this have been proposed, however failure of health professionals to recognise the symptoms women present with may contribute. The aims of this paper are twofold; (1) to explore women’s self-report symptoms of perinatal depression and (2) understand how the symptoms women present with might impact on identification.

Design/methodology/approach: Women were invited to post their experiences of perinatal depression on one of two on-line discussion forums over a nine month period. Data were analysed using a process of deductive thematic analysis informed by cognitive behavioural theory.

Findings: Women’s symptoms were presented using five headings; triggers (for perinatal depression), thoughts; moods; physical reactions and behaviours. Women believed having a previous mental health problem contributed to their depression. Women’s self-report symptoms included intrusive and violent thoughts; emotional responses including fear, worry and anger and somatic symptoms including insomnia and weight changes. Women also reported aggressive behaviour and social withdrawal as part of their depressive symptomatology.

Symptoms women present with may negatively impact on identification as they often over-lap with those of pregnancy; may not be included in the criteria for mental health assessment and may involve undesirable and socially unacceptable behaviour, making disclosure difficult.

Research limitations/implications:
Practical implications: A more inclusive understanding of women’s self-report symptoms of perinatal depression is called for, if identification is to improve.

Originality/value: This paper offers an analysis of women’s self-report symptoms of depression, in the context of identification of perinatal mental health problems.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Health and Education
Item ID: 21473
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Patricia Jarrett
Date Deposited: 01 Mar 2017 15:38
Last Modified: 12 Nov 2019 13:48
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/21473

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