Cultural differences in perinatal experiences for women with low socioeconomic status

Patricia A. Lee King*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


In this study, similarities and differences in perinatal experiences between women with low socioeconomic status (SES) by race, ethnicity, and nativity were explored. The objective was to better understand the sociocultural and environmental contexts of perinatal experiences and potential implications for screening and assessment among women with low SES. A purposive stratified sample of 32 women who were likely to be screened for perinatal depression participated in four focus groups organized by African American, white, Hmong, or Latina race or ethnicity. A descriptive study design was used to collect and evaluate focus-group data using qualitative content analysis. Women understood their perinatal experiences through the stressors in their environment. The stressors of insufficient socioeconomic resources and interpersonal support were relatively consistent across the focus groups. However, women's understanding of these stressors and their meaning differed between groups. Racially and ethnically diverse women with low SES experienced a complex interaction of sociocultural and environmental factors in the perinatal period. The findings highlight the need for health and social work practitioners to conduct depression screenings in conjunction with a comprehensive psychosocial assessment, informed by cultural competence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)211-220
Number of pages10
JournalHealth and Social Work
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014


  • Assessment
  • Cross-cultural
  • Perinatal
  • Poverty
  • Support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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