Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Lanesskog, Deirdre


The purpose of this study was to identify barriers to receiving services for women suffering with Postpartum Depression (PPD) in the San Bernardino and Riverside County areas. 11 - 20% of mothers experience symptoms of PPD, which if left untreated can negatively impact the mother-infant relationship, ultimately affecting the entire family unit. Past studies have identified a variety of barriers to receiving treatment for PPD. However, research has not focused specifically on the obstacles mothers face in these two neighboring counties.

The study utilized an online self-administered questionnaire developed by the researchers to identify barriers to treatment for PPD. There were 41 participants from San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. The questionnaire was intended to be distributed to service providers that come into contact with this vulnerable population; primarily social workers, licensed therapists, masters of social work (MSW) students student interns, physicians, registered nurses, and midwives. However, because a snowball sampling technique was used, it was possibly sent to other professionals who come into contact with this population.

Our study found that most of the barriers identified in previous studies also applied to our participants. The barriers rated highest in terms of limiting access to PPD services were a physician’s lack of time with patients, knowledge of PDD symptoms, the patient’s relationship to physician, and limits in coverage, as well as knowledge of services covered, lack of emotional support from significant other and/or family members, and transportation challenges including distance from providers. Additional barriers that were recognized in the literature and in our research, were education barriers, cultural barriers, stigma associated with postpartum depression, fear of child welfare officials, lack of culturally sensitive screening tools, and fears surrounding the use of medication.

The results from this study may help practitioners and researchers better understand the barriers women with PPD face in accessing services, and may help service providers tailor their treatments and services accordingly. Additionally, the knowledge gained from the research may also inspire policy changes to improve women’s access to PPD services.