Mental Health Services Use among Pregnant Women with Depressive Symptoms.


Racial/Ethnic Differences in the Correlates of Mental Health Services Use among Pregnant Women with Depressive Symptoms.

The title suggests the key variables, including the racial and ethnic differences and the mental health services. Therefore, the study population is identified as the pregnant women with the depressive symptoms.


The abstract clearly and concisely summarizes the key features of the study. In fact, the section identifies the objective of correlating lifetime mental health services among expectant women with prenatal depressive symptoms. Firstly, the method used is also identified as the cross sectional population based study involving 81 910 pregnant women suffering from the conditions. Secondly, the results highlighted indicate that the racial/ethnic differences correlate with the use medical health services among the target population. Lastly, the conclusion states that the racial/ethnic differences with the Hispanic women have the least depressive symptoms, and hence a few uses the MHS.


The introduction states that over 20 million people experience depressions each year, with women having twice as many chances to be affected compared to men. In fact, the section becomes more relevant by pointing out that about 1 out of 5 pregnant women in the US suffers from depressive episodes. The low income and racial minorities exhibit the problem at a higher level than the high income and the Whites. In this case, the importance of the study in nursing is outlined prominently as many of the cases are undiagnosed, affecting the maternal-infant attachment, birth outcomes, and offspring development. Therefore, the introduction is relevant and informative.

Hypotheses or Research Questions

The hypotheses or researcher questions are not stated at any point of the study. Nevertheless, at the significance section, there are points that can be termed as the basis and bottom-line of the research. The key points include:

  • Approximetly1 in 5 of the expectant women in the US have prenatal depression.
  • The untreated cases are associated with poor maternal and fetal outcomes.
  • The mental health needs of the group remain unmet, particularly among racial minorities.

            It is worth noting that the absence of the hypotheses is justified because the study concentrated on collecting data and information on the identified aspects.

Literature Review

The study does not have the literature review sections. However, some information in the introduction provides ideas from the past studies. A considerable number of the sources highlighted are up to date because some references were published within five years. In fact, the ideas from the previous studies provide the grounds upon which the current study is anchored. Therefore, by stating that the prenatal depression rate is high and that most of the affected women go undiagnosed, the analysis also avers that non-Hispanic White women are less likely to access prenatal risk screening, exposing them to prenatal depression.

Conceptual/Theoretical Framework

The theoretical framework section is missing. However, it is evident from the introduction that the fundamental concept under the investigation is that the pregnant women and, by large the non-Hispanic Whites suffer from undiagnosed prenatal depression. Therefore, the implication of the matter is highlighted in the introduction and its impact on the development of the unborn and the children.

Protection of Human Rights

The protection of human rights is a significant ethical requirement in research. In this case, the study involved human subjects, so the likelihood of violating their rights cannot be ignored. The discussion did not include experimental processes that are likely to affect the health wellbeing of the participants. More importantly, the identity of the participants is not revealed; hence, privacy and confidentiality were maintained.

Research Design

The research design defines how the data and information to assist in addressing the research questions and the realization of the objectives can be met. The discussion involved a cross-sectional study in which data collected by the Florida Department of Health between 2008 and 2012 were applied. Hence, the data used include the healthy start prenatal screening and birth certificate records. In addition, the social security number was linked to finding out some of the critical information, particularly the racial or ethnic identity. Consequently, only the mothers who signed for the full prenatal screening and carried the pregnancy to birth participated. In fact, the design could have enhanced the interpretation of the findings because it ensured that only those who underwent the full prenatal screening were involved and that the distinction of the racial background of the participant was highly upheld. By and large, the setting of the study was appropriate and well defined. In essence, concentrating on Florida and using the health department records enhanced the study’s validity. It is worth noting that the Health Department is highly likely to remain objective in record keeping.

Population and Sample Size

The population for the study constituted 1 012, 683 pregnant women who were offered the prenatal screening. Therefore, the sampling was done on the population where the aspect of free screening consent was encouraged. In addition, the final sample included 81 910 participants which their record had no missing data.

Data Collection and Measurement

The data collection was based on the Florida Health Department while observing the criteria, including the consent to the screening, completion of the pregnancy/live births, and that the participant remained in the state. The records were classified into nine racial/ethnic categories: Non-Hispanic White, Non-Hispanic Black, and Hispanic Mexican. Therefore, the data was measured based on classes and the number of the pregnant women.

Data Analysis

 The data analysis was done statistically using the Pearson Chi-square and one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA). In this case, the study involved 95 % confidence intervals and a p< 0.05 considered significant. Essentially, the analysis method is reliable and valid because the numerical and statistic findings can be verified. Finally, the co-founding variables, including race, access to screening, and diagnosis of the prenatal depression, were incorporated.


The fundamental results of the study are that the self-reported case of prenatal depressive symptoms in Florida were 17.2 % of the expectant women. Furthermore, the highest rate was among the Non-Hispanic Black women at 22.2 % and the lowest in Non-Hispanic Asian at 9.3 %. Evidently, the results are presented systematically in tables showing the findings in every category of the participants and various analysis components, including the mean, standard deviation. Therefore, it is clear to identify the findings in each core variable to draw a reliable conclusion.

Summary Assessment

As evident from the above analysis, the study made a significant contribution to the nursing practice being the first population-based research to examine the racial difference in the matter. In addition, it was clear that prenatal depression is a significant health concern that the practicing nurses should be aware of. Besides, measures should be put in place to diagnose and assist women in overcoming the health issue. More importantly, the practitioners should be more conscious while dealing with the low-income non-Hispanic women during the prenatal care services. Besides, the validity of the study in addressing the topic is evident in two ways. First, the data collected and its source is valid and reliable because it incorporates the necessary components. Secondly, the method of the data analysis and statistical procedure enhanced objectivity and reliability.



Chang, J. J., Tabet, M., Elder, K., Kiel, D. W., & Flick, L. H. (2016). Racial/Ethnic Differences in the Correlates of Mental Health Services Use among Pregnant Women with Depressive Symptoms. Maternal and child health journal, 1-12.

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