The Stigma of Mental Illness for Mothers Diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder in First Year Postpartum

Type of Project: 

A diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder (BD) in the postpartum period directly impacts the mother, infant and family. The stigma of mental illness for new mothers is a powerful obstacle to care, preventing women from accessing critical care and support. Lack of medical care for women suffering from BD in postpartum period has been associated with increased risk of maternal morbidity and mortality. The problem to be addressed in this grounded theory study is the lack of knowledge regarding the stigma of mental illness for mothers diagnosed with bipolar disorder (BD) in the first year postpartum. A purposive sample of 25 women given a clinical diagnosis of BD in the first year postpartum will participate in one, 60-90 minute recorded interview. Transcribed interviews will be analyzed in open, axial and selective order. Findings may reveal the processes through which women interpret and resolve this problem, providing substantive theory as to stigma of mental illness for new mothers, establishing pathways for future research and suggesting potential anti-stigma interventions and policies for providers and public health. 

Project Status: 
Project IRB Approved
bipolar disorder
postpartum mood and anxiety disorders
stigma of mental illness
grounded theory study