A focus on postpartum depression among African American women: A literature review

BACKGROUND: Some studies have reported a higher rate of postpartum depression in African American vs White women. We reviewed the literature to identify the possible factors associated with a greater risk of postpartum depression in African American women.

METHODS: A comprehensive literature review was conducted using journal databases such as PubMed and Google Scholar. Keywords used in the search included postpartum depression, ethnicity, and race. Using the PRISMA (Preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analysis) method for review articles, 8 studies were identified and included.

RESULTS: We identified 8 studies that met the criteria for our review. Most of the studies showed that African American and Hispanic women had a higher odds ratio of reported postpartum depression due to lack of social support, access, trust, past depression, and other factors. However, 1 study found that although African Americans are more likely to report symptoms of postpartum depression, they are less likely to seek treatment due to cultural stigma regarding mental illness.

CONCLUSIONS: The data we reviewed confirm the ethnic differences in postpartum depression. Addressing the factors involved will lead to better health outcomes for both mothers and their children.

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