Perinatal Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Understanding Risk Factors for Black Women

Alexis Zollo, Fordham University


Perinatal posttraumatic stress disorder (PPTSD) is a relatively understudied mental health disorder that disproportionately affects women of color. This dissertation study used a reproductive justice framework to examine the role of biological, psychological, and sociocultural risk factors in the development of PPTSD in 159 Black women who were in their first year postpartum. The measures used in this study assessed participants’ method of birth, history of trauma, perceived healthcare discrimination, objective socioeconomic status, subjective social status, and PPTSD symptoms. Correlational analyses, analysis of variance, and hierarchical multiple linear regression analyses were used to examine the relationships among the variables. Findings revealed a prevalence rate of 12% for onset of PPTSD in the context of traumatic childbirth and that 26% of participants endorsed clinically significant PPTSD symptoms while remaining below the diagnostic threshold. Findings indicated that PPTSD symptoms varied significantly and that births involving more obstetric intervention were associated with greater PPTSD symptoms. Results also revealed that perceived healthcare discrimination and history of trauma reliably predicted PPTSD symptoms. Clinical implications, limitations and recommendations for future research are discussed.

Subject Area

Psychology|Health sciences|Clinical psychology

Recommended Citation

Zollo, Alexis, "Perinatal Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Understanding Risk Factors for Black Women" (2023). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI30531334.