Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Wendy Simonds - Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. Ralph LaRossa

Third Advisor

Dr. Phil Davis


In this study, I conduct a multiple method content analysis of literature on postpartum depression (PPD) from two on-line sources, Medline and LexisNexis. The purpose of the study is to determine how the medical profession defines and frames PPD, and to consider the implications of its movement into the medical model. I use the theories of Foucault, Gramsci, critical constructionism, and postmodern feminism to examine the effect of the medicalization of PPD on women’s lives. Using both simple descriptive statistics and qualitative analysis, I show the expansion of medical control over women’s bodies in the childbearing years beyond the physical to include the emotional and psychological aspects as well, which results in standardized maternal behaviors and emotions that tighten the boundaries of motherhood.

Included in

Sociology Commons