Perinatal Depression Knowledge, Attitudes, and Beliefs Among Graduate Social Work Students
Keywords:Social work students, perinatal depression, knowledge, attitudes, identification, Social work training, postpartum depression, antenatal depression
The purpose of this study was to identify the proportion of Master of Social Work (MSW) students who received perinatal depression (PD) training as part of their coursework. Additionally, we sought to identify differences in PD knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and openness to further education between students who had received PD training compared to students without PD training. Using a cross-sectional design and convenience sampling, 177 largely female (91.0%), Hispanic (46%), and Caucasian (28.2%) MSW students from five public California universities electronically provided demographic data and completed the Depression in Women's Health Settings scale. Most MSW students reported health/mental health (38%) or children/youth/and families (47.5%) as their field of practice. Twenty-nine MSW students (16.4%) reported receiving PD training, 61% child abuse/neglect training, and 50% domestic violence training. Students with PD training were significantly more knowledgeable and reported having the skills to assess, screen, identify, and care for women with PD symptoms versus students without PD training. Given the well-documented association of PD with child abuse/neglect and domestic violence, early PD screening, identification, and referral information must be incorporated into MSW curricula and continuing education in order to promote maternal-infant well-being outcomes.
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