Clinically Identified Postpartum Depression in Asian American Mothers


  • Deepika Goyal,

    Corresponding author
    • Correspondence

      Deepika Goyal, PhD, RN, FNP-C, San Jose State University, The Valley Foundation School of Nursing, One, Washington Square, San Jose, CA 95192-0057.

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  • Elsie J. Wang,

  • Jeremy Shen,

  • Eric C. Wong,

  • Latha P. Palaniappan

  • The authors report no conflict of interest or relevant financial relationships.



To identify the clinical diagnosis rate of postpartum depression (PPD) in Asian American subgroups (Asian Indian, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese) compared to non-Hispanic Whites.


Cross-sectional study using electronic health records (EHR).


A large, outpatient, multiservice clinic in Northern California.


A diverse clinical population of non-Hispanic White (N = 4582), Asian Indian (N = 1264), Chinese (N = 1160), Filipino (N = 347), Japanese (N = 124), Korean (N = 183), and Vietnamese (N = 147) mothers.


Cases of PPD were identified from EHRs using physician diagnosis codes, medication usage, and age standardized for comparison. The relationship between PPD and other demographic variables (race/ethnicity, maternal age, delivery type, marital status, and infant gender) were examined in a multivariate logistic regression model.


The PPD diagnosis rate for all Asian American mothers in aggregate was significantly lower than the diagnosis rate in non-Hispanic White mothers. Moreover, of the six Asian American subgroups, PPD diagnosis rates for Asian Indian, Chinese, and Filipino mothers were significantly lower than non-Hispanic White mothers. In multivariate analyses, race/ethnicity, age, and cesarean were significant predictors of PPD.


In this insured population, PPD diagnosis rates were lower among Asian Americans, with variability in rates across the individual Asian American subgroups. It is unclear whether these lower rates are due to underreporting, underdiagnosis, or underutilization of mental health care in this setting.