Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Interdisciplinary Health Sciences


Joseph W. Tomaka


Transition into motherhood may be a time of mixed emotion. Though most women embrace motherhood and are optimistic about the role, approximately 13% of all women who give birth suffer from postpartum depression (Beck, C.T., 2001; Beck, C.T., 1996; O'Hara & Swain, 1996). However, some studies report women of Mexican origin suffer postpartum depressive symptoms at much higher rates than other racial and ethnic groups (Diaz, Huynh-Nhu, Cooper, & Munoz, 2007). Understanding how and to what extent postpartum depressive symptoms affect mothers of Mexican origin remains incomplete. This 10 month prospective, repeated measures, proxy pretest study of pregnant and postpartum women of Mexican origin used Lazarus and Folkman's Transactional Model of Stress and Coping (Glanz & Schwartz, 2008; Lazarus, 1999; Lazarus & Folkman, 1984) as the theoretic and conceptual guide to explore how self-reported prenatal depressive symptoms, pregnancy related stress, general stress, coping strategies, and acculturation level impacted self-report depressive symptoms at three to seven weeks postpartum. One hundred and thirty five (135) pregnant women of Mexican origin enrolled in the study with 129 completing all phases. Overall, the study found that over half of participants screened normal for postpartum adjustment, while 43.4% experienced postpartum depressive symptoms; of those, 12.4% screened positive for DSM-IV "probable postpartum depression." Neither perceived stress nor coping strategy significantly predicted postpartum depressive symptoms. However, depressive symptoms during pregnancy significantly predicted depressive symptoms during postpartum and lower acculturation level moderated postpartum depressive symptoms. The final comprehensive stress and coping model suggested support for Lazarus and Folkman's model, and accounted for 43% of variance in reported postpartum depressive symptoms when examining Time 2 stress and coping strategies, and controlling for all Time 1 variables.




Received from ProQuest

File Size

123 pages

File Format


Rights Holder

Rena M. DiGregorio