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Acculturation, Postpartum depression, Hispanics



  1. Beck, Cheryl Tatano DNSc, CNM, FAAN
  2. Froman, Robin D. PhD, RN, FAAN
  3. Bernal, Henrietta PhD, RN


Purpose: Perinatal health outcomes for Hispanic women are associated with acculturation. The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between acculturation levels and postpartum depressive symptomatology and diagnosed postpartum depression among Hispanic subgroups.


Study Design and Methods: The Postpartum Depression Screening Scale and the Short Acculturation Scale were used in the two phases of data collection. Phase 1 and 2 samples consisted of 377 and 150 Hispanic mothers, respectively. Puerto Rican mothers showed higher levels of acculturation than Mexican and other Hispanic women. A DSM-IV diagnostic interview (SCID) was used to establish a diagnosis of depression. Hierarchical regression analyses were used to study the unique relationships between ethnicity, depressive symptomatology, diagnosed depression, and acculturation.


Results: There was no consistent relationship between acculturation and postpartum depression. Significant predictors of elevated postpartum depressive symptoms in Hispanic mothers were Puerto Rican ethnicity and cesarean delivery. Single martial status was a significant risk factor for postpartum depression. A limitation of the study was use of language as the sole criterion measure for acculturation. Acculturation is a complex construct with problematic measurement that needs greater refinement to facilitate research in which it is used as a variable.


Clinical Implications: Hispanic mothers are a heterogeneous group and should not be treated as a homogeneous group. Subgroups of Hispanic mothers may not have the same level of acculturation or the same level of postpartum depressive symptomatology.