Publication Date


Degree Type

Master's Project

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Chia-Ling Mao

Second Advisor

Elizabeth Dietz


Postpartum depression among the Chinese population in the United States has been understudied even though the Chinese community continues to rapidly increase in numbers. The purpose of this study is to investigate the prevalence of postpartum depression among Chinese immigrants using the "Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale," a self-report questionnaire. This study also reports demographics obtained from participants and explores the practice of "zuo ye zi" among Chinese immigrants. In the spring of 2005, twenty-eight postpartum Chinese women, all first generation immigrants, were asked to participate in this study during home visits conducted by public health nurses in Alameda County, CA. The overall prevalence of postpartum depression in the study was found to be 14.3%, with 10.7% showing signs of mild depression, and 3.6% showing signs of severe depression. All of the depressed subjects refused referral to a mental health specialist. Instead, they preferred to continue to discuss issues with social workers at the clinic where they had previously established relationships. The majority (96%) of the subjects practiced "zuo ye zi," a common postpartum custom in the Chinese community, and 39% of the subjects were helped by their husbands. The majority of the subjects (89%) qualified for MediCal. Lack of social support and low socioeconomic status may be contributing factors in postpartum depression among Chinese immigrants. The self-administered depression tool used in this study was found to be helpful in getting Chinese women to express symptoms related to depression, and was thus useful in screening mental health problems.