Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Women's experiences living with depression
by Jarchow, Susan M., Ph.D., The University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, 2014, 154; 3633342
Abstract (Summary)

In the United States, depression affects many Americans at different levels. Depression among women is a major public health problem. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, about 1 in 5 women develop depression at some point in their lives, and are nearly twice as likely as men to have depression. Much of the research about depression in women are quantitative studies aimed mostly at collecting epidemiological or survey data that focus on rates of mental illness, while not taking into account the qualitative subjective and contextual illness perspectives of women living with depression.

The purpose of this study was to explore the perspectives of women living with depression in the context of their daily lives including (a) their experiences of symptoms and sequelae; (b) their cumulative exposure to social adversity; and (c) their efforts at recovery in the context of their larger sociocultural and sociopolitical environments.

Qualitative in-depth interviews were conducted with women (N = 17) who self-identified as having experienced depression at some time in their lives, to learn about their experiences living with and recovering from depression. Participants were recruited from a private psychological counseling practice and peer-led mental health recovery-focused organizations, and were interviewed twice, 5 to 14 days apart, to add credibility to the study's findings. The transcripts of their illness narratives were analyzed using thematic analysis.

Findings emerging from the analysis were clustered and into six broad themes: (a) Suffering Adversity in Childhood and Adolescence; (b) Shutting Down and Giving Up; (c) Isolation, Not Fitting In, and Social Stigma; (d) Managing Symptoms and Experiences with Healthcare; (e) Coming to Terms: Facing It and Working Through It; and (f) Becoming a Resource Person: Connecting, Learning, and Giving Back.

Results from this study have implications for healthcare providers working with women living with depression. Eliciting illness narratives from women living with depression is an important starting point for mental healthcare professionals as they try to gain an understanding of what these women deal with every day in order to better meet their mental healthcare needs.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Buseh, Aaron
Commitee: Coenen, Amy, Keigher, Sharon, Snethen, Julia, Stevens, Patricia
School: The University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
Department: Nursing
School Location: United States -- Wisconsin
Source: DAI-B 76/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Mental health, Nursing, Public health
Keywords: Depression, Mental health, Recovery
Publication Number: 3633342
ISBN: 978-1-321-13009-6
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