Postpartum Depression: How Much Do Obstetric Nurses and Obstetricians Know?

Authors

  • Heidi S. Lepper MA,

    Corresponding author
    1. Heidi Lepper is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Psychology at the University of California, Riverside; Robin DiMatteo is Professor of Psychology at the University of California. Riverside and Resident Consultant at RAND, Santa Monica; and Barbara Tinsley is Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Riverside and Clinical Associate Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics at Loma Linda University Medical Center, Loma Linda, California.
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  • M. Robin DiMatteo PhD,

    1. Heidi Lepper is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Psychology at the University of California, Riverside; Robin DiMatteo is Professor of Psychology at the University of California. Riverside and Resident Consultant at RAND, Santa Monica; and Barbara Tinsley is Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Riverside and Clinical Associate Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics at Loma Linda University Medical Center, Loma Linda, California.
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  • Barbara J. Tinsley PhD

    1. Heidi Lepper is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Psychology at the University of California, Riverside; Robin DiMatteo is Professor of Psychology at the University of California. Riverside and Resident Consultant at RAND, Santa Monica; and Barbara Tinsley is Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Riverside and Clinical Associate Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics at Loma Linda University Medical Center, Loma Linda, California.
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Address correspondence to Heidi S. Lepper, M.A., Department of Psychology, University of California, Riverside, CA 92521.

Abstract

ABSTRACT: Postpartum depression affects 10 to 15 percent of all mothers. A study of 725 obstetric nurses and 204 obstetricians was conducted using a reliable two-factor scale to measure their knowledge and awareness of postpartum depression. Nurses were more aware than physicians of the emotional impact of postpartum depression. Nurses who demonstrated more empathy and who believed education of postpartum depression does not increase a mother's risk were more aware of the postpartum phenomenon than nurses who were less empathic and who did not hold the same belief. Younger and women physicians recognized the psychosocial antecedents to postpartum depression to a greater degree than did older and men physicians. These findings offer potential use in the training of perinatal health care professionals and in the education of pregnant women about postpartum depression.

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