Jenessa Danielle Deleault is a 2015 graduate of the PsyD Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, New England

Dissertation Committee

  • Theodore Ellenhorn, Ph.D., Committee Chair
  • Amanda Hitchings, Psy.D., Committee Member
  • David Arbeitman, Ph.D., Committee Member


postpartum depression, medical decision making, women, human females, new mothers

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Publication Date



This research study aims to understand the medical decision-making process for new mothers who may be experiencing depression, anxiety, or psychological distress following birth, and understanding their treatment preferences. This study replicates one by Patel and Wisner (2011), and was developed from their suggestions in further research. The goal was to replicate the methodology with a more diverse sample of new mothers. The study reviews recent literature on postpartum depression and anxiety, including, symptoms, etiology, risk factors, the impact on family functioning and child development, as well as the literature on medical decision-making. The Decisional Conflict Scale, the Problem-Solving Decision Making Scale, and the Control Preferences Scale were used to assess the decision-making process, desired control in problem solving and decision making, and decisional conflict. The results revealed that women preferred more collaborative problem solving related to diagnosing, and preferred to retain more responsibility related to decision making about treatment. The group of mothers who had made a decision about treatment endorsed statistically lower levels of decisional conflict versus those who had not made a treatment decision. Furthermore, respondents who endorsed a diagnosis of depression, anxiety, or a mood disorder (self-reported) also endorsed statistically lower levels of decisional conflict. In reference to decision making and preferences, there was no difference found between groups of respondents who endorsed psychological distress and those who did not. Regardless of symptoms, respondents indicated they preferred collaborative decision-making and wanted to retain control in the process.


ORCID Scholar ID # 0000-0003-2929-3444