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Chinese American Women's Experiences with Postpartum Depressive Symptoms and Mental Health Help-Seeking Behaviors

Ta Park, Van M., PhD, MPH; Goyal, Deepika, PhD, RN, FNP-C; Suen, Joyce, BS; Win, Nolee, BS; Tsoh, Janice Y., PhD

MCN: The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing: May/June 2019 - Volume 44 - Issue 3 - p 144–149
doi: 10.1097/NMC.0000000000000518

Purpose: The objective of this study was to explore the perspectives of postpartum depression (PPD) and mental health help-seeking behaviors among Chinese American women.

Study Design and Methods: Using a qualitative design, Chinese American women, who had given birth in the past year, participated in a semistructured interview (English or Mandarin). Depressive symptoms and mental health services questionnaires were also conducted.

Results: All 15 participants were married and between 29 and 39 years of age. Content analysis revealed two main themes including culture-specific postpartum traditions and mental health help-seeking. Nine reported sadness or PPD symptoms, including three who scored above the cutoff of the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS score ≥9) for risk of PPD and others who disclosed such information during the interview. Many women shared that they experienced postpartum depressive symptoms, but some did not believe depression was applicable to Chinese women.

Clinical Implications: Healthcare professionals working with Chinese American women must be aware of culture-specific childbearing traditions to promote maternal–infant well-being outcomes.

Postpartum depression is one of the most common morbidities after birth. In this study, Chinese American women discuss how they coped after giving birth and their perceptions of how women in their culture seek help when experiencing depressive symptoms during postpartum.

Van M. Ta Park is an Associate Professor, School of Nursing, Department of Community Health Systems, University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco, CA. The author can be reached via e-mail at

Deepika Goyal is a Professor, The Valley Foundation School of Nursing, San José State University, San Jose, CA.

Joyce Suen is a Research Assistant, Department of Health Science and Recreation, San José State University, San Jose, CA.

Nolee Win is a Research Assistant, Department of Nutrition, Food Science, and Packaging, San José State University, San Jose, CA.

Janice Y. Tsoh is a Professor, School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco, CA.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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