Authors: Sierra Budd, Danielle Cooke, Ryan McCarty, Rebecca Henderson, Dikea Roussos-Ross, Ashley Ordway, Andrea Guastello, Carol Mathews, Joseph McNamara
Faculty Mentor: Joseph McNamara
College: College of Medicine
Stigma in mental health care, and postpartum mental health care in particular, is a public health burden and can act as a barrier to treatment, and thus lead to poor outcomes for both mothers and their children (Pinto-Foltz & Logsdon, 2008; Thurgood et al., 2009). These results have not been extended to postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder (POCD), recent research suggests that obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is associated with stigma, particularly when symptoms involve concerns about harm or taboo subjects (McCarty et al., 2017). This is of particular concern given that these symptoms are common in women with POCD (Uguz et al., 2007, Challacomb et al., 2016). This study aims to examine the stigma and familiarity associated with different POCD symptoms as compared to other postpartum mental health conditions. To examine these differences, an online survey that assesses recognition, social distance and perceived danger based on a randomly assigned vignette diagnosis describing a mother’s postpartum experience is used with participants recruited via Amazon’s Mechanical Turk service. The findings of this study will be used to better understand public perception of postpartum mental health conditions, to improve understanding of barriers to treatment and to inform future public health educational efforts.