The impact of cultural factors upon postpartum depression: a literature review

Health Care Women Int. 2008 Jul;29(6):568-92. doi: 10.1080/07399330802089149.


Postpartum depression is a serious disorder that affects many women globally. Studies have shown that cultural factors play a significant role in postpartum depression; they may trigger postpartum depression as well as contribute to the alleviation of its depressive symptomatology. The cultural aspects of the postpartum period have been described in the literature; however, the impact of cultural factors upon postpartum depression has been less investigated, and studies that looked at this association have yielded oppositional conclusions. In addition, the literature is inconclusive as to whether there are significant differences among various cultures in the prevalence of postpartum depression. The purpose of this literature review is to identify and critically review published and unpublished studies regarding the effect of cultural factors on the alleviation or deterioration of postpartum depression. Results show that cultures have different rituals and beliefs that may affect the severity of postpartum depression.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cultural Characteristics*
  • Depression, Postpartum / ethnology*
  • Depression, Postpartum / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Postnatal Care / psychology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prevalence
  • Social Support