Preventing Postpartum Mental Health Problems

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Title: Exploring challenges and opportunities for technology design to address and prevent postpartum mental health problems

Mentor: Dr. Sabirat Rubya

Summary: Postpartum mood disorders represent a major public health issue in the USA affecting between 10% and 20% of mothers. Pregnancy and stressors related to caring for a newborn may increase the risk of poor mental health among women, which in turn may have serious detrimental effects on the health and well-being of the mother and her child. Approximately 1 in 7 women suffer from postpartum depression. The negative effects of postpartum depression on child growth and development, both immediate and long lasting, include impaired attachment, behavior problems, social and cognitive limitations, and low self-esteem. While many studies have been conducted on the prevalence, risk factors and successful treatment rates of it, very few studies have focused on the role of technology to address and meet the mental health needs during postpartum. The goal of this study is to develop a better understanding of maternal postpartum mental health and to design mHealth technology that they will be able to use for assessing and dealing with their mental health problems. Students on this project will conduct interviews and surveys on new mothers to understand their mental health needs and strategies for help-seeking. They may also have the opportunity to develop and prototype new system design ideas for improving postpartum mental health and wellbeing based on research findings.

Preferred Skills (not required): • Interest in developing interviewing and survey design skills • Experience with statistical analysis techniques or packages such as R • Qualitative analysis • Low and high fidelity prototyping


Milestones and Goals

Week Description
Week 1 (6/1-6/4): Orientation
  • Familiarize with Microsoft Teams, project and mentor
  • Set milestones and goals for the project duration
  • Start reading and compiling summaries of related literature
  • Begin systematic literature review for papers related to perinatal mental health and technology by compiling keywords for each database
Week 2 (6/7-6/11): Systematic Literature Review
  • Continue systematic literature review for papers related to perinatal mental health and technology by compiling keywords for each database
  • Begin reading papers located during systematic literature review and compile summaries
  • Begin adding questions to the protocol based on findings in literature review
Week 3 (6/14-6/18): Systematic Literature Review
  • Continue reading papers located during systematic literature review and compile summaries
  • Continue adding questions to the protocol based on findings in literature review
  • Begin preparing for 6/30's Mini Presentation
Week 4 (6/21-6/25): Systematic Literature Review and Compilation of Data Sources
  • Continue reading papers located during systematic literature review
  • Continue adding questions to the protocol based on findings in literature review
  • Prepare and practice for 6/30's Mini Presentation
  • Begin searching for other data sources
Week 5 (6/28-7/2): Mini Presentation, Systematic Literature Review, and Compilation of Data Sources
  • Finalize 6/30's Mini Presentation
  • Continue reading papers located during systematic literature review
  • Continue adding questions to the protocol based on findings in literature review
  • Continue searching for other data sources
  • 6/30: Present Mini Presentation
Week 6 (7/5-7/9): Paper Draft, Systematic Literature Review, and Compilation of Data Sources
  • Continue reading papers located during systematic literature review
  • Continue adding questions to the protocol based on findings in literature review
  • Continue searching for other data sources
  • Begin preparing final paper
Week 7 (7/12-7/16): Study Protocol Creation
  • Continue reading papers located during systematic literature review
  • Continue searching for other data sources
  • Continue preparing final paper
  • Finalize study protocol
  • Begin creating final poster and presentation
Week 8 (7/19-7/23): Study Protocol Creation and Potential Participation Recruitment
  • Continue preparing final paper
  • Finalize study protocol
  • Continue creating final poster and presentation
  • If time allows, begin recruiting participants for study
Week 9 (7/26-7/30): Finalizations of Previous Work
  • Continue preparing final paper
  • Finalize study protocol
  • Continue creating final poster and presentation
  • If time allows, continue recruiting participants for study
Week 10 (8/2-8/6): Presenting Research
  • Finalize preparations for poster, presentation, and paper
  • 8/5: Present at poster session
  • 8/5: Give oral presentation
  • 8/6: Submit final paper