Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Adult Education and Human Resource Development

First Advisor's Name

Thomas G. Reio, Jr.

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Patricia Barbetta

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Mido Chang

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Valerie Russell

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Keywords

workplace, interventions, postpartum depression, women, working mothers

Date of Defense

11-10-2015

Abstract

The overarching purpose of this collected papers dissertation was to explore the best practices used by Human Resource Development (HRD) professionals to help working mothers who are experiencing postpartum depression symptoms after maternity leave. The first paper in this dissertation was an integrative literature review. The second paper in this dissertation investigated whether participation in online support groups served to moderate the effect of postpartum depression symptoms on work impairment (measured in terms of absenteeism and presenteeism). Both studies were undergirded by the stress-buffering hypothesis, which posits that social support can moderate the effect of experiencing a stressful event. Study #2 also included the self-labeling theory, which explains how a person with mental illness seeks voluntary support.

Study #1 reviews studies that examine how to support women experiencing postpartum depression symptoms in the workplace. No studies were found in HRD literature. The stress-buffering hypothesis held weight in informing HRD professionals to help women experiencing postpartum depression symptoms. The majority of the studies pointed to social support, especially from coworkers and supervisors, as having a positive effect on postpartum depression symptom scores.

Study #2 explores the effect of participation in online support groups on the work impairment of women experiencing postpartum depression symptoms. This study surveyed working mothers with children under the age of one from online support groups. The survey consisted of three measures: The Edinburg Postnatal Depression Scale (Cox, Holden, & Sagovsky, 1987); the Work Productivity and Activity Impairment (WPAI; Reilly, Zbrozek, & Dukes, 1993); and the Online Social Support for Smoking Cessation survey (OS4; Graham, Papandonatos, Kang, Moreno, & Abrams, 2011). This study did not support the hypothesis that online support group participation would moderate the effect of postpartum depression symptoms on work impairment.

Overall, the findings of these studies are entry points into the HRD literature about how working women who are experiencing postpartum depression symptoms can be supported by their employers. Further research is necessary to examine the type of social support that is effective at helping working mothers.

Identifier

FIDC000175

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