Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Research Paper

Degree Name



Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Tracy Moran Vozar, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Artur Poczwardowski, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Huynh-Nhu Le, Ph.D.


Perinatal, Postpartum, Pregnancy, Anxiety, Depression, Obsessive-compulsive disorder, Screening, Identification, Referrals, Obstetrics, Gynecology, Pediatric

Publication Statement

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Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Introduction: The perinatal period has been associated with an increased risk of developing psychiatric disorders among women. Perinatal mental health disorders (PMHD) are highly prevalent, yet highly underrecognized and untreated. The involvement of medical providers, especially obstetrics/gynecology and pediatric providers, in the early identification of PMHD is critical to ensure women with PMHD receive appropriate supports. However, providers lack the education, training, and ability to identify and screen for PMHD as well as the knowledge of appropriate referrals. Objective: This study explores the existing issues with healthcare providers’ early identification practices of PMHD from the perspective of ten mothers and to with the purpose of making recommendations to improve the early identification process. Results: Qualitative analysis revealed two main themes: 1) the importance of perinatal mental health training for providers, and 2) the importance of ongoing, relational screening. Conclusion: There is an enormous need for increased involvement of medical providers in the early identification process. Medical providers should be provided with education and training to increase their PMHD screening practices, expand their knowledge on the presentation of PHMD and connect women with appropriate supports.


52 pgs

Paper Method

Empirical - Qualitative