Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



School of Nursing


Adult Health

Committee Chair

Cynthia Armstrong Persily


Background: Postpartum depression is a serious mood disorder that can have negative effects on the new mother and her infant. Postpartum depression affects 10-15% of all women after childbirth. A majority of women with postpartum depression do not seek help from any source. Purpose: The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between attitudes toward help seeking and actual help seeking in postpartum women with and without depressive symptoms. Method: A convenience sample of 130 postpartum women from northwestern Pennsylvania completed the Postpartum Depression Screening Scale (PDSS) and the Attitudes Toward Seeking Professional Psychological Help Short Form (ATSPPH-SF).The relationship between help seeking attitudes, presence of depressive symptoms, and actual help seeking was examined using quantitative analysis. Results: In this sample of postpartum women, approximately 50% reported minor or major depressive symptoms. Postpartum women with depressive symptoms had more negative attitudes toward seeking professional help than women without depressive symptoms. Postpartum women with depressive symptoms that sought help had more positive help seeking attitudes than women with depressive symptoms that did not seek help since the birth of their infant. Presence of depressive symptoms significantly predicted the help seeking attitudes in this sample of women. Conclusion: Given the significant impact of postpartum depression on maternal and infant outcomes, it is imperative to be consistent and thorough in detecting and treating postpartum depression. Since a majority of women with depression do not seek help, it is important to predict which postpartum women have attitudes that hinder professional help seeking.