Social Workers’ Screening Practices for Postpartum Depression
Keywords:Social work practice, postpartum depression, maternal and child health, assessment and evaluation
The Affordable Care Act specifies mothers living with postpartum depression (PPD) are a group in need of services. Although mothers with PPD prefer to receive services from social workers than from professionals from other disciplines, limited research has addressed where social workers learn how to screen for PPD, the instruments they use, in what contexts they screen, and at what point during the perinatal period they screen mothers. The authors used an online survey to study a national sample of perinatal social workers (n=261) on their screening practices of mothers with PPD. More than half (n=149, 57.1%) of the respondents indicated they neither learned how to screen nor how to diagnose PPD during their undergraduate or graduate school education. Despite the availability of easy-to-use PPD screening instruments, only 25% (n=66) of the respondents indicated they have used any screening instruments. Of added concern is that many of the respondents indicated they do not consult the professional literature on PPD from social work and other disciplines to guide them in their practice. We recommend social workers integrate relevant findings from evidence-based research about PPD into their practice as appropriate, and that BSW and MSW curricula incorporate relevant information on PPD into their programs.
Abrams, L. S., & Curran, L. (2007). Not just a middle-class affliction: Crafting a social work research agenda on postpartum depression. Health & Social Work, 32(4), 289-296.
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.
Brownstein-Evans, C., Keefe, R. H., & Polmanteer, R. S. R. (2014, October). Social work practices in screening, diagnosing, and providing services to new mothers with postpartum depression. Presented at New York State Social Work Education Association’s 47th Annual Conference, Saratoga Springs, NY.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2008). Prevalence of self-reported postpartum depressive symptoms - 17 states, 2004-2005. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 57(14), 361-366.
Clare, C. A., & Yeh, J. (2012). Postpartum depression in special populations: A review. Obstetrical & Gynecological Survey, 67(5), 313-23. doi:10.1097/OGX.0b013e318259cb52
Cox, J. L., & Holden, J. (2003). Perinatal mental health: A guide to the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS). London: Gaskell.
Earls, M. F., & & The Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health (2010). Clinical report – Incorporating recognition and management of perinatal and postpartum depression into pediatric practice. Pediatrics, 126(5), 1032-1039.
Gaynes, B. N., Gavin, N., Meltzer-Brody, S., Lohr, K. N., Swinson, T., Gartlehner, G., Brody, S., Miller, W. C. (2005). Perinatal depression: Prevalence, screening accuracy, and screening outcomes. Evidence Report/Technology Assessment No. 119. AHRQ Publication No. 05-E006-2. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
Hayes, D. K., Ta, V. M., Hurwitz, E. L., Mitchell-Box, K. M., & Fuddy, L. J. (2010). Disparities in self-reported postpartum depression among Asian, Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander women in Hawaii: Pregnancy Risk Monitoring Assessment (PRAMS), 2004-2007. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 14, 765-773. doi:10.1007/s10995-009-0504-z
Keefe, R. H., Brownstein-Evans, C., Lane, S. D., Carter, D. B., & Polmanteer, R. S. R. (in press). Postpartum depression and the Affordable Care Act. Advances in Social Work.
Keefe, R.H., Brownstein-Evans, C., & Rouland Polmanteer, R.S. (in press). Addressing access barriers to services for mothers at risk for perinatal mood disorders: A social work perspective. Social Work in Health Care.
Lane, S.D., Webster, N., Levandowski, B.A., Rubinstein, R.A., Keefe. R.H., Wojtowycz, M.A., Cibula, D.A., Kingson, J., & Aubry, R. (2008). Environmental injustice: Childhood lead poisoning, teen pregnancy, and tobacco. Journal of Adolescent Health, 42(1), 43-49.
Leigh, B., & Milgrom, J. (2008). Risk factors for antenatal depression, postnatal depression and parenting stress. BMC Psychiatry, 8, 24-34.
Liu, C. H., & Tronick, E. (2013). Rates and predictors of postpartum depression by race and ethnicity: Results from the 2004 to 2007 New York City PRAMS survey (Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System). Maternal and Child Health Journal, 17, 1599-1610. doi:10.1007/s10995-012-1171-z
National Association of Social Workers. (2008). Code of ethics of the National Association of Social Workers. Retrieved from https://www.socialworkers.org/pubs/code/code.asp
O’Hara, M. W., & McCabe, J. E. (2013). Postpartum depression: Current status and future directions. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 9, 379-407. doi:10.1146/annurev-clinpsy-050212-185612
O’Hara, M. W., & Wisner, K. L. (2014). Perinatal mental illness: Definition, description, and aetiology. Best Practice & Research Clinical Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 28, 3-12. doi:10.1016/j.bpobgyn.2013.09.002
Seehusen, D. A., Baldwin, L, Runkle, G. P., & Clark, G. (2005). Are family physicians appropriately screening for postpartum depression? Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, 18(2), 104-112.
SurveyMonkey. (2015). SurveyMonkey: How it works. Retrieved from https://www.surveymonkey.com/mp/take-a-tour/?ut_source=header
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (2016, January). Final recommendation statement: Depression in adults: Screening. Retrieved from http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Document/RecommendationStatementFinal/depression-in-adults-screening1
Zittel-Palamara, K., Rockmaker, J. R., Schwabel, K. M., Weinstein, W. L., & Thompson, S. J. (2008). Desired assistance versus care received for postpartum depression: Access to care differences by race. Archives of Women’s Mental Health, 11, 81-92. doi:10.1007/s00737-008-0001-1.
Copyright to works published in Advances in Social Work is retained by the author(s).