Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Chris Dula

Committee Members

Jameson Hirsch, Jodi Polaha, Stacey Williams, Jill Stinson


Postpartum depression (PPD) is a prevalent, complex illness impacting 10% to 20% of mothers and their families. Treatments for PPD, such as medication and psychotherapy, are effective at reducing the severity of symptoms and generally improving quality of life for new mothers and their families. Unfortunately, many mothers with PPD go unrecognized due to a lack of standardized screening methods. Further, mothers regularly encounter barriers to accessible, evidence-based follow-up care to treatment even when symptoms of PPD are detected. The use of a stepped care protocol, set in a pediatric primary care clinic, is one proposed strategy to address the insufficient rates of screening, detection, and maternal contact with treatment. This study examines the feasibility of implementing a stepped care protocol to screen and provide brief therapeutic treatment to mothers reporting symptoms of PPD in one pediatric primary care clinic. The RE-AIM (reach, effectiveness, adoption, implementation, and maintenance) framework was used to evaluate implementation outcomes. Results suggest this stepped care protocol was feasibly implemented in one pediatric primary care clinic. The protocol was largely successful in screening mothers at a majority of well child checks (83.76%) for PPD and connecting them with resources based on the severity of symptoms reported. Future studies should further evaluate the impact brief onsite mental health treatments have on reports of PPD symptoms, longitudinal maternal and child outcomes as a result of the protocol, as well as the protocol’s replicability to pediatric practices elsewhere.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.