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The experience of postnatal depression in immigrant mothers living in western countries: a meta-synthesis

Wittkowski, Anja, Patel, Sonia and Fox, John 2017. The experience of postnatal depression in immigrant mothers living in western countries: a meta-synthesis. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy 24 (2) , pp. 411-427. 10.1002/cpp.2010

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Background Postnatal depression affects women from all cultures and countries. The postnatal period is thought to be a vulnerable time for all mothers. Immigrant women may be at particular risk as they attempt to adhere to childbirth rituals in western societies which might exacerbate stress, while navigating through the multiple stressors they face from migration in the transition to motherhood. Methods This study utilized a meta‐synthesis approach to synthesize qualitative studies exploring postnatal depression in immigrant mothers living in western countries. Searching six databases identified 16 studies that met criteria. Results The synthesis revealed two overarching themes of migration and cultural influences on immigrant mothers that interact and give rise to psychosocial understandings of postnatal depression, remedies and healthcare barriers. Mothers used self‐help coping strategies in line with this. Conclusions Immigrant mothers living in western countries are subject to multifactorial stressors following childbirth, increasing their susceptibility to postnatal depression. These stressors relate to being an immigrant in a western society and cultural influences, which may be harder to comply with, when removed from their sociocultural context. Social support appears to play a mediating role for these immigrant mothers. There were several similarities between immigrant and non‐immigrant mothers including their views of healthcare and medication, their health‐seeking behaviours and their fears of having their baby removed. All these findings have implications for healthcare settings in terms of assessments and service delivery.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN: 1063-3995
Date of Acceptance: 31 January 2016
Last Modified: 15 Jul 2019 09:13

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