Postpartum Depression in Latinas Running Head: postpartum depression in latinas

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The Effect of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy on Reducing Postpartum Depression in

Monolingual Spanish-Speaking Latina Immigrant Mothers

Megan Condit

Written Assignment #3

Social Work 240

Fall 2008

Professor Lee


The current research explores treatment of postpartum depression in 40 monolingual Spanish-speaking Latina immigrant mothers recruited from community centers and clinics in one California county. The quantitative component of this study uses a classic experimental design to compare the impact on these mothers of a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) group, a mother-baby program, and a combination of both interventions on symptoms of depression and quality of parent-child relationship. It is predicted that mothers in all groups (including the control group) will experience decreased depression scores, but those who receive group CBT will have the greatest decrease. It is also predicted that there will be a difference in the relationships between babies and mothers who participate in the mother-baby program and those who do not. The qualitative component of this study seeks to discover how involvement in a mother-baby program and CBT group affect both the relationship between mother and baby and the depression symptoms of the mother. The qualitative method is phenomenology, via face-to-face one hour interviews with participants chosen by convenience sample from the quantitative component of this study. It is anticipated that group CBT and the mother-baby program together will offer both a reduction in depression and an improvement in the quality of the parent-child relationship for Latina mothers with postpartum depression. This study seeks to increase the cultural competence of treatment offered to the marginalized community of Latina mothers, who have seldom been the focus of studies about postpartum depression.


Postpartum depression, which occurs in some women after giving birth, is documented in all ethnic groups in the United States, but is more prevalent among Latinas than white women (Brett, Barfield, & Williams, 2008). Cordero and Kurtz (2006) conducted a study with 74 Latina participants in the Women, Infant and Children (WIC) program and found that Latinas who have more traditional beliefs were also more likely to be depressed and, paradoxically, less likely to seek the support of a mental health provider.

The current research compares the impact on monolingual Spanish-speaking Latina immigrant mothers of individual therapy plus either a cognitive behavior therapy group, a mother-baby program, or a combination of both interventions on symptoms of depression and quality of parent-child relationship. These interventions will be compared with a control group, who receive only individual therapy.

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