Postpartum Depressive Symptoms in Low-Income Latinas: Cultural and Contextual Contributors

Document Type


Publication Date






Publication Title

Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology


Objective: Using a conceptual model of postpartum depression risk in Latinas including both contextual and cultural stressors, we tested contributions to depressive symptom levels and trajectories over the course of 1 year following birth in a community sample of Latinas.
Method: A multisite sample of low-income U.S.-born and foreign-born Latinas (n = 537; M age = 25.70) was interviewed on many topics including measures of stress and maternal health at 1, 6, and 12 months postpartum. Nested multilevel growth curve models were implemented to test associations of contextual stressors (poverty, domestic violence) with trajectories of depressive symptoms, adjusting for confounds. This model was compared to 1 that added cultural stress variables (everyday discrimination, foreign-born status, language preference, age at immigration) measured 1-month postpartum.
Results: The best fitting model provided evidence for the independent effects of cultural and contextual stressors. Discrimination (β = .13 SE = .02, p = < .001) and domestic violence (β = .39 SE = .09, p = < .001) predicted trajectories with higher levels of depressive symptoms 1 month postpartum, but not linear change in symptoms over the year.
Conclusions: The present study provides evidence that discrimination, a cultural factor, and domestic violence, a contextual factor, each predict higher levels of early postpartum depressive symptoms. Interventions addressing discrimination and maternal safety are recommended.


For more information on the published version, visit APA PsycNet's Website.



Full text currently unavailable.