Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Postpartum psychiatric disorders, Postpartum psychiatric disorders-Treatment, Attention-deficit disorder in adults, Mothers-Mental health, Postpartum depression, Anxiety in women, Resilience (Personality trait), MotherWoman, Inc. (Hadley, Mass.), Postpartum, Prenatal, ADHD, Anxiety, Depression, ASRS-v1.1©, Executive functioning, Executive functions (Neuropsychology)


This mixed-method study was undertaken to expand the knowledge base about mothers with a diagnosis of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in the first twelve months after the birth of a baby. Nine mothers with an ADHD diagnosis and a child under the age of 60 months were interviewed. These mothers were asked to identify experiences with challenges, coping, depression, anxiety, and support in the first year postpartum. Quantitative data contrasting pre-child and postpartum executive functioning was retrieved during the interviews using the ASRS-v1.1© (Kessler et al., 2005). This quantitative data was also retrieved from 57 mothers as one part of a larger, on-line survey of mothers who had attended MotherWoman support groups. Findings from this study concurred with research regarding vulnerability of mothers with ADHD to perinatal depression and anxiety. This study indicated that social anxiety may be a recursive risk factor exerting a negative influence on maternal identity, self-esteem, and parenting self-efficacy in mothers with ADHD. Executive functioning skills appear to be impaired for many women in the postpartum period; however, questions were raised regarding the validity of the ASRS-v1.1© for ADHD screening in the postpartum period. This study allowed the voices of mothers with ADHD to be heard, thereby enriching and expanding upon the previous knowledge base. It shed light on challenges and coping; risks of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders; strengths; and supports of mothers with ADHD that may have potential bearing on the health and well-being of the mother, infant, and infant-mother dyad relationship.




vi, 175 p. : ill. (some col.) Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, 2013. Includes bibliographical references (p. 123-138)