Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Postpartum depression, Self-help groups, Cognitive therapy, Feminist theory, Support group, Cognitive-behavioral, MotherWoman, Inc. (Amherst, Mass.), Postpartum depression-Treatment


The research reported in this paper was undertaken to examine and evaluate the usefulness of a particular support group for mothers suffering symptoms of postpartum depression (PPD). The new DSM-V, scheduled for release in 2013, will reflect some changes in our understanding of this affliction, including an extension of the onset time period of symptoms. Broadening the diagnostic criteria has implications for both screening and treatment. Literature on treatment tells us that this population of mothers is underserved, due to lack of access to treatment and/or poor diagnostic screening and detection of PPD. MotherWoman, Inc. is a non-profit organization in western Massachusetts that created a support group model, currently conducts weekly groups in four locations, and trains facilitators to administer their expanding program. Six mothers with self-reported symptoms of PPD, and who had attended six or more sessions of the group during their first year postpartum participated in a focus group, which provided the data for this research study. Results of the research helped define the distinct format of the group and its value to participants. Data revealed that feminist psychology and cognitive behavioral theory were working together to create a supportive and healing atmosphere. It was also indicated that the principles and guidelines governing this group were perceived as valuable and unique from the participants' experiences outside of the treatment milieu.




iii, 54 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2011. Includes bibliographical references (p. 43-47)