Health Administration & Policy

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Interesting student research related to Public Health or Health Administration and Policy:

“Should I Take My Meds or Not?: Pregnant Women’s Decision Making About the Use of Antidepressant Drugs”

Sana Waheed
Mentor: Assistant Professor Andrea L. Kalfoglou

Eight to 20 percent of pregnant women experience depression, and the majority is sub-optimally treated or untreated. Women who discontinue antidepressant drugs at conception have a 68 to 75 percent risk of relapse. Anecdotal evidence suggests that women discontinue antidepressant therapy out of fears about risks to the fetus that are, in fact, unfounded. We conducted a pilot interview study with a convenience sample of 20 women who were taking antidepressants prior to planning or initiating a pregnancy to understand why women chose to discontinue treatment. Interviews were audio taped, transcribed and analyzed. Participants were mostly Caucasian, highly-educated women who were currently employed. All of the women who discontinued medication experienced a depressive relapse. Relapses ranged from unpleasant to incapacitating. Most believed that they needed to just deal with their depression in order to protect their baby from exposure to medication. Discontinuers who consulted medical professionals were encouraged to stop medication or felt their health-care providers were unwilling to participate in the decision. Women who continued taking their medication reported they had supportive health-care providers. Beliefs about the risks of antidepressants appear to be grounded in cultural expectations that women who are “good mothers” will keep their bodies “clean” during pregnancy.

Meet Kavita. Read her bio here!

Meet a HAPP student:

Benefits of undergraduate research to HAPP students:

  • Work with a mentor
  • Experience hands-on research
  • Reinforce classroom learning
  • Prepare for work or graduate school
  • Travel to national conferences
  • Receive grant funding
  • Publish independent research
    • Orthodox Ashkenazi Young Adults’ Knowledge, Experiences, Attitudes and Beliefs about Genetic Carrier Testing
      Melissa Chapman Broder.
      The American Journal of Bioethics. April-June 2001.

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Health Administration & Policy Program