Clinical Social Work Journal

, Volume 41, Issue 4, pp 387–394 | Cite as

Treatment Engagement Using Motivational Interviewing for Low-Income, Ethnically Diverse Mothers with Postpartum Depression

  • McClain Sampson
  • Luis H. Zayas
  • Sarah Beth Seifert
Original Paper


Postpartum depression (PPD) places women, and their children, at risk for many untoward outcomes including lack of responsivity, low self-efficacy, and insecure infant attachment. Especially at risk for untreated PPD are low-income, ethnically diverse mothers. Seeking and accepting treatment for depression may be impeded by the many psychological and social barriers that mothers may bring with them. Obstacles might include a lack of resources (e.g., lack of transportation or child care), stigma, distrust, and a lack of knowledge about stress and depression. To reduce these and other barriers to treatment, this paper points to the value of utilizing motivational interviewing techniques to engage and retain low-income, ethnically diverse women for treatment of PPD. Following a review of PPD and related barriers to treatment, a case study is presented with example dialogue. The suggestions for practice represent starting points for effective engagement of women in any number of treatments provided by social and health services settings. With federal mandates to screen for depression in many settings and to provide treatment, using motivational interviewing may be an effective prelude to treatment adherence.


Postpartum depression Motivational interviewing Barriers to treatment Low-income Ethnic diversity Mothers 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • McClain Sampson
    • 1
  • Luis H. Zayas
    • 2
  • Sarah Beth Seifert
    • 3
  1. 1.Graduate College of Social WorkUniversity of HoustonHoustonUSA
  2. 2.School of Social WorkUniversity of Texas at AustinAustinUSA
  3. 3.University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA

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