Barriers in Seeking Treatment for Perinatal Depression in Low-Income African Americans: A Systematic Review [paper]




Basa, Jessica

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Introduction: Perinatal depression is a mood disorder that can occur during pregnancy and within four weeks of childbirth. Individuals at the greatest risk for perinatal depression include low-income African American and Hispanic women. African American women are least likely to seek psychiatric treatments for perinatal depression. Current literature presents conflicting findings as to the existence of racial and ethnic differences in screening and treatment for perinatal depression. This systematic review aimed to summarize and categorize the barriers faced by low-income, pregnant Black/African American women that discourages treatment engagement for depression. Methods: The author abstracted evidence from articles published between 2008 and 2021 from CINAHL, PubMed, and ScienceDirect electronic databases and ancestry search strategy. Papers eligible for inclusion included: full-text, peer-reviewed studies, and a focus on the barriers for low-income, pregnant African Americans in seeking treatment for depression. Quality assessment was conducted, using Melnyk and Fineout-Overholt’s Rapid Critical Appraisal Checklists. Results: Of 8,715 papers identified, 7 studies met the inclusion criteria. Common themes were 1) avoidance of psychiatric medications with greater preference for faith-based interventions and 2) time constraints and costs as significant barriers to treatment for perinatal depression in this population. Discussion: The results suggest the need to include faith-based approaches to appeal more to African American women, ask more culturally sensitive questions, integrate mental health services in obstetric clinics, and offer virtual appointments and/or options for mothers to bring their children for easier convenience.



perinatal depression, African Americans, pregnant, barriers, treatment, Nursing


Basa, J. (2022). Barriers in seeking treatment for perinatal depression in low-income African Americans: A systematic review [Report]. St. David's School of Nursing, Texas State University.


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