Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 300–314 | Cite as

Cultural Background and Socioeconomic Influence of Immigrant and Refugee Women Coping with Postpartum Depression

  • Joyce Maureen O’Mahony
  • Tam Truong Donnelly
  • Shelley Raffin Bouchal
  • David Este
Original Paper


Postpartum depression is a serious condition that can have long lasting traumatic effects on women and their families. Until recently postpartum depression research has focused more on the population as a whole rather than refugee and immigrant women. Informed by Kleinman’s explanatory model and the postcolonial feminist perspective, 30 immigrant and refugee women were interviewed to find out what factors influenced them in seeking postpartum care and what strategies would be helpful in prevention and treatment of postpartum depression. We found that the immigrant and refugee women in our sample: (a) were influenced by both cultural background and socioeconomic factors in seeking support and treatment; (b) were influenced by cultural differences and social stigma when making decisions about health care practices; and (c) employed numerous coping strategies to deal with postpartum depression. Recommendations are provided for more culturally appropriate and equitable mental health care services for immigrant and refugee women living in Canada.


Immigrant Refugee women Mental health Postpartum depression Culture Socioeconomic factors Health care access Postpartum care 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joyce Maureen O’Mahony
    • 1
  • Tam Truong Donnelly
    • 1
    • 2
  • Shelley Raffin Bouchal
    • 1
  • David Este
    • 3
  1. 1.Faculty of NursingUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada
  2. 2.Department of Community Health Science, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada
  3. 3.Faculty of Social WorkUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada

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