Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Psychology

Committee Chair

Sydney Ey, Ph.D.


Postpartum depression is a prevalent experience associated with negative long-term outcomes. Biological risk factors have been identified, but few researchers have looked at psychological variables as possible risk or protective factors for postpartum depression. This cross-sectional study examined the relationships among 40 new mothers' optimism, self-esteem, coping efforts and postpartum depression as measured by the LOT-R (Scheier, Carver, & Bridges, 1994), Rosenberg's SES (Rosenberg, 1965), the Brief COPE (Carver, 1997), and the EPDS (Cox, Holden & Sagovsky, 1987), respectively. New mothers' self-esteem may be a possible protective factor as women with higher. selfesteem reported less postpartum depressive symptoms in the present study. Coping efforts that include self-blame, behavioral disengagement, and venting however, may be risk factors as they were moderately correlated with increased risk for postpartum depression. Implications for treatment, prevention and further research were discussed.