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"Asthma, depression, problems with your heart or lungs?": how obstetric providers screen for mental health issues during the first prenatal visits

Molitoris, Amy (2014) "Asthma, depression, problems with your heart or lungs?": how obstetric providers screen for mental health issues during the first prenatal visits. Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Mental health disorders frequently affect pregnant women and have potential serious side effects for the mother and her unborn child. However, mental illness is often undetected and untreated. Even though mental illness screening is recommended for all pregnant women, limited research exists on how frequently this topic is addressed, the method in which providers address this subject, and what patient and provider factors are associated with the mental health assessment. This study was conducted to determine the manner and frequency of obstetric provider screenings of pregnant patients for mental health issues and to determine what patient and provider factors may influence the occurrence of screening for mental health problems during first obstetric visits. Patient and provider participants were recruited from a culturally diverse population attending visits in a large urban outpatient hospital-based clinic. First obstetric visit conversations between obstetric care providers and pregnant patients were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim. Transcripts were then coded and analyzed for factors related to mental health screening. Among 103 audio recorded appointments, providers asked about mental health in 43 visits (41.7%). Type of provider was significantly associated with whether he/she asked the patient about mental health, with nurse midwives most likely to ask (X2 = 28.8521, p < 0.0001). Of the 43 patients who were asked about mental health, 36 (83.7%) were asked with specific terms (e.g. depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder) and 20 (46.5%) had the screening question grouped with an inquiry into various other health issues. Providers frequently miss the opportunity to screen for mental illness during a patient’s first obstetric visit. Additionally, grouping the mental health screening with a variety of other questionings may increase the possibility the topic may be lost or forgotten among the other listed health issues.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Molitoris, Amyamm300@pitt.eduAMM300
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairKucinski, Barbarakucinski@pitt.eduKUCINSKI
Committee MemberChang, Judyjchang@mail.magee.eduJCC61
Committee MemberLevine, Michelelevinem@upmc.eduMLEVINE
Committee MemberPollak,
Date: 22 April 2014
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 31 March 2014
Approval Date: 22 April 2014
Submission Date: 6 April 2014
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Number of Pages: 27
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
David C. Frederick Honors College
Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: mental health, pregnancy, patient provider communication
Date Deposited: 22 Apr 2014 15:59
Last Modified: 22 Apr 2019 05:15


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