Rural Women’s Explanatory Models of Postpartum Depressive Symptomatology


Purpose: To construct explanatory models of postpartum depressive symptomatology (PPDS) from the perspective of rural women and to compare these models to the traditional medical model.
Sample: Purposive sample of 20 rural women from one Midwestern state who self-identified as having had PPDS in the past year.
Methods: This qualitative descriptive study was informed by Kleinman’s (1980) explanatory model of illness and used a semi-structured interview guide. Telephone interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data analysis included content analysis within the categories of Kleinman’s (1980) explanatory model.
Findings: Rural women were more likely to attribute their PPDS to nonphysiological causes than physiological causes. Rural women reported the onset, duration, and symptomatology of PPDS were similar to what is outlined in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Women considered the effects of PPDS to be far-reaching and serious. Rural women in this study preferred a variety of often nonpharmacological treatment options and care from informal networks to that available from health care providers. Although the rural women in this study did not believe PPDS could be prevented, they believed women could better prepare themselves for PPDS by having a support system in place and by planning for practical life concerns.
Conclusions: Nurses and other health care providers and researchers should consider rural women's explanatory models of PPDS when considering interventions and program development for women in rural communities.

Keywords: Postpartum depression, Postnatal Depression, Qualitative, Maternal depression, depressive symptoms, Rural Nursing Theory


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