Cheryl Beck’s Postpartum Depression Theory

Cheryl Beck’s Postpartum Depression Theory

Beck came up with the postpartum depression theory after studying that mothers who were released earlier from the postpartum unit were likely to developing maternity blues which included extreme lonely, obsessive thoughts of becoming a bad mother, and emotional deprivation among others. For that matter, she suggested that health care professionals should make it a routine to assess postpartum women for any signs of maternity blue before discharging them. However, there have been queries if Beck’s theory has been tested empirically to confirm its relevancy in the current nursing practice. Besides, its validity and congruency to current nursing interventions have been inquired by those who are curious about it.

First of all, the theory is congruent to the current nursing standards. Nurses are equipped with adequate knowledge and skills to assess and identify signs of impending conditions. Therefore, they can as well apply Beck’s postpartum depression theory to identify signs of maternity blues (Beck, &Woynar, 2017). Besides, this theory matches current nursing interventions and therapeutics. For instance, nurses apply the nursing care plan to assess any risks in patients’ health. In this case, their understanding that releasing postpartum women earlier will enable them to develop a risk diagnosis for maternity. As a result, they will be in a position to provide the necessary preventive care.

Furthermore, Beck’s theory of postpartum depression has been tested empirically. Empirical research which involves carrying out both direct and indirect observation and experience have been done, and it is classified under the qualitative inquiry paradigm which aligns with the nursing values. During theory formulation, Beck did quantitative research which involved the collection of data from women who were undergoing postpartum depression.After that, she developed a Postpartum Depression Predictors Inventory (PDPI) (Anderson, & Connolly, 2018). The PDPI is the evidence of empirical testing since it contains verifiable data. Therefore, this theory has been tested empirically and it has undergone full research before being put into practice. Also, the theory is accurate and valid since it follows a systematic process of screening for PPD using a Postpartum Depression Predictors Inventory. The theory involves several screening methods which include observing moods and behaviors, interviewing of patients at risk, and carrying out paper or electronic surveys. Such methods have been confirmed to be accurate by researchers.

Since its discovery, the postpartum depression theory has been used by nurses to ensure that postpartum mothers do not develop PPD symptoms. For example, in the current healthcare facilities, postpartum mothers are not released immediately after giving birth so that health care providers can monitor them for signs of postpartum depression. Those who are found to have related symptoms are managed appropriately before being released.

More so, the approaches used in this theory shows that it is relevant socially and culturally. For instance, nurses engage in a conversation with postpartum mothers so that they can identify any symptoms of postpartum depression. Direct involvement of nurses makes it socially relevant. Besides, this theory is culturally relevant since every culture aims at maintaining the mental health of a breastfeeding mother to ensure that she takes good of the born child (Ayers, Bond, Bertullies, &Wijma, 2016). Lastly, this theory greatly contributes to the discipline of nursing in different ways. Nurses develop assessment skills through observation of symptoms in postpartum mothers. Besides, they learn new knowledge by implementing the interventions put in place for mothers with postpartum depression.

My take away from this theory is that nurses should continue using this theory to identify symptoms of postpartum depression in postpartum mothers to enable them to take good care of their newborns. As such, they should perform a thorough assessment before releasing them.



Anderson, C. A., & Connolly, J. P. (2018). Predicting posttraumatic stress and depression symptoms among adolescents in the extended postpartum period. Heliyon, 4(11), e00965.

Ayers, S., Bond, R., Bertullies, S., &Wijma, K. (2016). The aetiology of post-traumatic stress following childbirth: a meta-analysis and theoretical framework. Psychological Medicine, 46(6), 1121-1134.

Beck, C. T., &Woynar, J. (2017). Posttraumatic Stress in Mothers While Their Preterm Infants Are in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit. Advances in Nursing Science, 40(4), 337-355.


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