Relationship between social support and postpartum depression in migrant and non-migrant first-time mothers

Cheryl Zlotnick, Inbal Manor-Lavon, Patricia Leahy-Warren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims and objectives: This study examines the relationship between social status and postpartum depression by migrant generation and determines whether social support moderates the relationship between migrant generations and postpartum depression. Background: Postpartum depression (PPD) afflicts more than 1 in 10 childbearing women worldwide; and this mental health problem may be higher among vulnerable populations of women such as migrants, an increasingly prevalent group in many countries. Social support and migrant generation (1st generation—mother and her parents born outside the host country; 2nd generation—mother born in the host country but not her parents; 2.5 generation—mother and one parent born in the host country) may contribute to the conflicting findings on migrant mothers and postpartum depression. Design: This study used a cross-sectional design. Methods: Sample recruitment of migrant and non-migrant first-time mothers (n=515) was implemented through an online platform. A STROBE checklist guided the reporting of this study. Results: PPD was lower among mothers with social support. While social support was negatively associated with PPD for all mothers, PPD was not associated with migrant generation nor was a moderation effect found. Conclusions: Social support is negatively associated with PPD for all mothers, but levels of PPD for migrant mothers may be linked to country-specific healthcare resources and immigration policies. Immigrant policies influence migrant mothers’ healthcare access; thus, immigration policies may influence PPD among first-time migrant mothers and the manner in which nurses can provide formal support. This study finds that social support, including the formal social support provided by nurses, decreases the likelihood of PPD. Demands on nurses’ technical and assessment skills are high, but nurses also need to remember that their skills of providing social support are equally important, and for first-time mothers, may contribute to decreasing PPD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1316-1326
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number7-8
Early online date18 Mar 2022
StatePublished - Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


  • depression
  • immigrants
  • migrant generations
  • mothers
  • nursing
  • social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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