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Women's engagement with and experience of interventions for antenatal and postnatal depression

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posted on 2022-03-28, 21:14 authored by Emma Michelle McCarthy
A review of the relevant literature into prevention and treatment of postnatal depression (PND) reveals low acceptance rates for treatment, relatively high attrition. The following thesis set out to explore the acceptance and experience of treatment for postnatal depression. An investigation into the factors which influence women to accept treatment and maintain engagement was carried out with two separate groups of women in two separate contexts. The study employed qualitative methods in order to gain an in-depth understanding of the relevant issues. -- The first study carried out interviews with 15 'at risk' women who had taken part in a 9-week preventive cognitive-behavioural group program in an urban setting. Acceptance of treatment for these women appears to have been influenced by the non-stigmatising nature of the program. Furthermore it appears women found the group experience more beneficial than the program content. It is suggested social contact and support could be the crucial element both in terms of maintaining engagement and in preventing depression. -- In the second study 15 women who had received treatment and support from the community mental health service for postnatal depression were interviewed. Findings revealed that many women did not seek help until they reached 'crisis point' and a significant barrier to seeking more timely help was the stigma associated with the inability to cope with motherhood. Talking of their distress and experiences both with health professionals and other mothers is important both in terms of receiving help and aiding recovery. Finally, conclusions and clinical implications drawn from the two studies are discussed which includes suggestions for future health initiatives and interventions.


Table of Contents

Introduction -- Study 1: Necessary and sufficient? Individual responses to the group experience in the prevention of postnatal depression -- Study 2: Women's acceptance and experience of treatment for postnatal depression -- Final discussion.


"Submitted 30th September 2004". Includes bibliographical references

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


Thesis (DPsych (Clinical)), Macquarie University, Division of Linguistics & Psychology, Department of Psychology

Department, Centre or School

Department of Psychology

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Cathy McMahon


Copyright disclaimer: Copyright Emma Michelle McCarthy 2004. This thesis was digitised for the purposes of Document Delivery. Macquarie University ResearchOnline attempted to locate the author but where this has not been possible; we are making available, open access, selected parts of the thesis which may be used for the purposes of private research and study. If you have any enquiries or issues regarding this work being made available please contact Macquarie University ResearchOnline - If you wish to access the complete thesis, on receipt of a Document Supply Request, placed with Macquarie University Library by another library, we will consider supplying a copy of this thesis. For more information on Document Supply, please contact




vii, 136 leaves

Former Identifiers

mq:20068 1604776

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