Familismo, marianismo, and superar: Hispanic mothers' perceptions of how culture affects experiences of postpartum depression
Ramos-Ayala, Shamira J
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Research on postpartum depression among ethnic populations is limited. Furthermore, the literature lacks investigations that focus on how cultural variables impact this mental health issue among Hispanic mothers. Studies have repeatedly identified risk factors for onset of maternal depression in Hispanic women but once diagnosed, little is known about how culture influences this lived experience. Marriage and family therapist need refined knowledge and skill sets to better serve ethnic mothers and their families. The purpose of this qualitative study was to gain insight on how culture affects the way Hispanic mothers experience postpartum depression. Nine mothers who experienced postpartum depression during the past three years were interviewed for this study. Participants were asked one structured question upon initiating the interview, followed up by semi-structured questions and probes to gather participants’ in-depth perceptions of the research topic. Interviews were transcribed and coded for common themes. As a result four major themes emerged: Revolutionizing Cultural Beliefs and Messages, Familismo, Marianismo, and Superar. Marriage and family therapists need to be mindful of using culturally sensitive practices when working with Hispanic families experiencing the effects of postpartum depression. By tapping into cultural perceptions, therapists can systemically improve mothers’ emotional well being, couple and family relationships, and child outcomes. Research efforts on mental health issues in Hispanic populations may help encourage help-seeking behaviors for mothers. Once help is sought, therapists and other social service providers need to consider cultural variables in their treatment modalities with Hispanic families.