Examining the effectiveness of a coordinated perinatal mental health care model using an intersectional-feminist perspective

J Behav Med. 2018 Oct;41(5):627-640. doi: 10.1007/s10865-018-9973-0. Epub 2018 Sep 19.


Untreated perinatal depression and anxiety are significant public health problems that disproportionately affect ethno-racial minorities. The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of a coordinated perinatal mental health care model, focusing on socially-disadvantaged, ethno-racial minority women, with an intersectional-feminist perspective. The treatment model was grounded in intersectionality theory with the aim of addressing complex social vulnerability factors in the context of perinatal mental health treatment. Participants were 67 perinatal women (64% African American or Hispanic/Latina) referred by medical providers at an urban teaching hospital. Results demonstrated high treatment engagement and effectiveness, with 65.9% of participants demonstrating reliable improvement in symptoms. Moreover, African American and Hispanic/Latina patients had similar treatment outcomes compared to White patients, despite facing greater socio-economic disadvantages. Findings indicate that the treatment model may be a promising approach to reducing perinatal mental health disparities. Strengths and limitations of the study are discussed within the intersectionality framework.

Keywords: Clinical practice; Disparities; Effectiveness research; Intersectionality theory; Perinatal mental health; Treatment outcomes.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Black or African American / psychology
  • Depression, Postpartum / ethnology
  • Depression, Postpartum / therapy*
  • Ethnicity / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility / organization & administration*
  • Hispanic or Latino / psychology
  • Humans
  • Mental Health Services / organization & administration
  • Models, Organizational
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Perinatal Care / organization & administration*
  • White People / psychology
  • Young Adult