Acculturative stress and lack of social support predict postpartum depression among U.S. immigrant women of Arabic descent

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PURPOSETo examine the relationships among acculturative stress, social support, and postpartum depression (PPD) symptoms among U.S. immigrant women of Arabic descent; and to examine if social support moderates the associations between acculturative stress and PPD symptoms.METHODSUsing a cross-sectional design, a sample of 115 U.S. immigrant women of Arabic descent, all between 1 and 12 months postpartum, were enrolled from clinics in Dearborn, MI. Data were analyzed using correlational and multiple linear regression.RESULTSWomen had a mean age of 29 ± 5 years and were 5 ± 4 months postpartum. Women had been in the U.S. for 7 ± 6 years and had a mean education of 12 ± 4 years. The majority had an annual household income of <$40,000 (88%), were unemployed (80%), and preferred Arabic language for interview (68%). Higher levels of acculturative stress, higher levels of education, antenatal anxiety, and lower levels of social support predicted PPD symptoms (all significant at p < .05). The moderating effect of social support on the association between acculturative stress and PPD symptoms was not supported.CONCLUSIONSAcculturative stress, lack of social support, higher level of education, and antenatal anxiety predicted PPD symptoms. Future research is needed to examine acculturative stress among immigrant women in different U.S. settings. Longitudinal studies and utilizing diagnostic assessments of PPD is highly recommended. Nurses need to screen immigrant women of Arabic descent for anxiety and depression during antenatal visits and develop evidence-based interventions targeted to improve mental health during pregnancy and postpartum.

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