A qualitative meta-synthesis and theory of postpartum depression

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26 Scopus citations


To synthesize existing qualitative literature on the first-hand experiences of women suffering from postpartum depression (PPD), to uncover potential common themes, a meta-synthesis of 12 qualitative studies using Noblit and Hare's 7-phase model of meta-ethnography was used. Four themes were discovered: crushed maternal role expectation, going into hiding, loss of sense of self, intense feelings of vulnerability, plus practical life concerns. A preliminary theory of PPD as a 4-step process is proposed, based on the relationships between the themes in this meta-synthesis. This 4-step process is compared and contrasted with Cheryl Tatano Beck's 4-stage theory of PPD "Teetering on the Edge". This meta-synthesis and theory offers a significant contribution to the literature in helping identify PPD distinctly from depression outside of the postpartum period, and deserves further study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)656-663
Number of pages8
JournalIssues in Mental Health Nursing
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health


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