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Qualitative Article Review

Dennis, C. L., & Vigod, S. (2013). The relationship between postpartum depression, domestic violence, childhood violence, and substance use: Epidemiologic study of a large community sample. Violence against Women, 19(4), 503-517. DOI: 10.1177/1077801213487057

Title

After reading the entire article, do you think the title adequately describes the study? Does the title catch your attention? Please explain.

Based on the contents delivered by the article, I can say that the title of the article, The relationship between postpartum depression, domestic violence, childhood violence, and substance use: Epidemiologic study of a large community sample, adequately describes the study in question. One aspect of the title that specifically stands out is its descriptive formatting. The subject of the article is sufficiently hinted to reveal the primary focus of the study. The descriptive title succinctly announces the studys topic in a way that the reader anticipates what they expect to find in the article. Even though the title may lack creativity and flair, on the contrary, it comes up as appropriate and vivid. It caught my attention the moment I read it and I yearned to read the contents therein.

Abstract

Does the abstract contain the recommended content (see Abstract, pp. 314, in Yegidis et al.)? How difficult do you think it is to summarize so much information in 150250 words? Please explain.

The abstract of this article applies an informational form of an abstract. This comes out by the fact that it communicates, in brief, the content, purpose, research method used, scope, and the findings of the study. In so doing, the abstract leaves the greatest decision to the reader as to whether or not to read the report. Based on the features of an informational abstract, the abstract contains the recommended content.

Writing an abstract can prove to be a tough exercise. Summarizing an exhaustive article content in few words, commands careful selection of words and, at the same time ensuring all the required information is captured in brief. Elements such as the purpose of the study, the problem the study intends to solve, methodology applied, findings, and implications must be tackled creatively to give the reader a reason to read the entire report. Covering all the information included in an article in 150 -250 words demands a good grasp of the articles content and the ability to articulate the intentions and purpose of the article briefly. A poor abstract communicates the incompetence of the author and lack of attention to quality.

Introduction

Why did the authors conduct this study and write this article? What was the problem of interest or concern? Be specific. Use quotes and paraphrases with citations. What audience might be interested in this study?

The author conducted the study to investigate the contribution that interpersonal violence and substance use may have towards predicting postpartum depressive symptoms. The study was inspired by the need to mitigate depression cases that have grown to be a serious concern in todays society. Exploring the experiences of depression is one way of unraveling why other occurrences occur, including domestic violence, childhood violence, and substance use. As evident from the study, the author keenly focuses on assessing the prevalence of depressive symptomatology in women. The focus spreads to how such factors as interpersonal violence and substance abuse contribute to the occurrence. The purpose of this community-based study was to determine the contribution of both interpersonal violence (past and current) and substance use (personal and partner) to the prediction of clinically significant depressive symptomatology in women (Dennis & Vigod, 2013). Healthcare institutions, physicians, women at the risk of developing depression, and the overall community may find this study interesting since it tackles one of the most pressing challenges facing society today. 

Do you feel the problem is significant enough to warrant a journal article? Did you have a so what reaction? If so, why do you think it was accepted for publication? Please justify your position.

A journal article details information regarding a specific topic by an expert in the field under study. The problem of depression, substance use, and child violence forms some of the most pressing concerns facing society, which makes them significant enough to be researched in depth. To express it differently, the problem under investigation casts light on the link between depression, domestic and childhood violence, and substance abuse, which promotes a better understanding of some of the challenging phenomena facing women in our societies today. In this connection, examining the problem can offer significant insights into the subject area and considerably affect the target audience.

To what extent does the literature presented in the introduction help you understand the problem? How does the literature reviewed put the problem in context? Be specific.

The literature presented in the article greatly helps me to understand the subject matter in several ways. First, the study expounds on my understanding of the association between childhood violence and substance abuse and the rate of postpartum depressive symptomatology. According to the literature, women who are exposed to violence are highly likely to report postpartum depression compared to those who experience none at all. Similarly, the article cites a history of interpersonal violence as a significant predictor of depression cases, especially among women in the perinatal period. However, as the literature suggests, physical discipline from a parent is the only strong predictor of postpartum depressive symptoms. Second, the literature promotes a better understanding of the link between childhood interpersonal violence and significant depressive illnesses. As the literature maintains, children exposed to violence develop long-lasting neurobiological changes that make them highly vulnerable to major depressive illnesses. In this case, the article stretches the argument that links psychological and physical parenting stress occurring during the postpartum period to increased women’s vulnerability to depressive episodes and poor puerperal transition. Lastly, the literature promotes a better understanding of why depressed persons are more likely to abuse substances compared to non-depressed ones. Depressive symptoms push one to abuse substance, a clear indication of why postpartum depressive symptoms are consistent with substance abuse, especially among women. Tackling distinct subject areas that touch on depressive cases offers significant insights that enhance the understanding of the problem under investigation.

Does the researcher indicate how this research is different from and/or similar to earlier ones reported in the literature? Summarize what this article intends to add to the knowledge base.

From the literature, the study highlights areas where the research coincides and differs from other studies conducted in a similar subject area. A longitudinal study conducted by Leung, Kung, Lam, Leung, and Ho (2002), showed a positive relationship between postpartum depression and victims of physical and sexual abuse. In their study, it was observed that those women who had experienced verbal abuse over the past year registered higher EPDS (Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale) scores compared to those who experienced none at all. The studys findings conformed to the results of Leung, Kung, Lam, Leung, and Ho (2002) linking interpersonal violence to depressive episodes. However, the studys findings appear inconsistent with a previous study done on the relationship between maternal cigarette smoking and postpartum depression. Previous studies demonstrate that cigarette smoking correlates highly with significant depression (Lindeman et al., 2000; Quattrocki, Baird, & Yurgelun-Todd, 2000). This study’s findings differ with Dennis and Vigod (2013) findings in that it does not identify any association between cigarette smoking and major depressive symptoms. However, the study shows a direct correlation between maternal substance abuse and postpartum depression. The article intends to add to the knowledge base the risks of maternal postpartum depression and the need for detecting postpartum depressive symptoms early for enhanced maternal-infant interaction.

Do the authors state their research questions and/or hypotheses? What are the hypotheses or focused research questions?

The article does not directly state the research questions, although, from the study’s analysis, the author highlights suggestive findings that might have guided their experiments. The parameters, namely, whether depressive symptomatology is linked to childhood violence, whether interpersonal violence is a predictor of major depression, and whether substance abuse is associated with depressive symptoms, can be phrased as research questions although they do not surface straightaway in the study.

Methods

What specific qualitative method is used? How does a qualitative research design correspond with the research questions? Can you determine whether the design was appropriate? To what extent can the design answer the research questions?
Elaborate.

From the study, the use of questionnaires was used as research measures. The data collection method is described clearly to allow for replication as a way to ensure the studys findings are reliable and valid. Most importantly, replication is crucial to test whether the same research would provide consistent results if it was performed again, thereby improving the chances of the studys applicability.

What were the key concepts being explored in the study? What measures or observations were used in the research? Explain why you do, or do not, think that the methods used to collect the data are described clearly enough to allow for replication. Be specific, and please elaborate.

The key concepts being investigated in the study included the prevalence of abuse (woman and child abuse), maternal substance use, and paternal substance use. The primary reasons for including these concepts were to assess the likelihood of experiencing depressive symptoms because of violence and the link between violence and substance abuse.

How was research reactivity and bias managed in the study?

Bias and reactivity in research is a common occurrence and can pose a significant risk towards the studys findings and application. The study in question did not escape the two aspects (bias and reactivity) despite managing each. The research managed bias by reactivity through viewing more data sources (as evident in numerous studies referenced). Besides, the researchers further did so by exploring additional explanations that were contextually applicable to explain conflicting findings. Participant reactivity was managed by ensuring the participants understand that their data was treated as confidential and that the information offered was done in a judgment-free manner.

Explain whether or not information was provided concerning the credibility and trustworthiness of the measures or observations. Was this information adequate? Be specific.

Even though there is no information provided on credibility and trustworthiness, the random assignment of the participants to groups and the presence of a control group affirm its credibility. Furthermore, the study also used reliable tools such as the Antenatal Psychosocial Health Assessment (ALPHA) form and the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS).

In terms of trustworthiness, the reliability, credibility, transferability, and dependability of the study affirm that the study is trustworthy. It is also carried out according to the protocols of research from participant recruitment, selection, and data collection to analysis and reporting.

What strategies were used to establish credibility?

To establish research credibility, the study utilized research published in reputable scientific journals and reported the studys findings without bias.

Was there evidence of an audit trail and/or peer consultation on the project?

There is no mention as to whether there was an audit trail or peer consultation on the project. However, for the journal article to be published in a peer-reviewed journal, there is a possibility that there was peer consultation prior to the research. Specifically, the authors in their literature review identified some gaps in research that informed the scope of their study.

Sample

How were the participants recruited or selected for the study? What sampling

strategy was used? Did the author(s) offer any justification for the sample

size? Are you satisfied with the information reported about the sample? What

questions might you have about the sample that were not addressed? Please

be sure to provide an explanation for all of your answers.

The recruitment of the participants followed a careful selection plan that required the respondents approved from the university ethics committee and study authorization in the participating health region. The studys selection criterion was women with at least 18 years and with a good understanding of the English language. A simple random sampling method was applied whereby the participants had an equal probability of being selected, provided they met all the required qualifications. However, the study does not offer any justification for the sample size taken, although one might question whether the rest of the sample not considered could have in any way influence the outcomes of the study.

Are the demographics of the participants (e.g., background characteristics such as age, race, etc.) described in sufficient detail? If so, how is the presentation of this descriptive data useful in evaluating the research? If not, please explain how that may affect the evaluation of the research.

The demographics of the participants greatly factored gender, age, and race, whereby, in this case, women with a mean age of 28.5 years and Caucasian were used. Other demographics included education, income, frequency of delivery, mode of delivery, and history of depression. The presentation of this descriptive data was paramount since they directly relate to exposure to substance use and interpersonal violence. The demographics were similarly important since they gave the study a room to focus on other likely factors (mode of delivery and frequency) that are likely to influence the studys outcomes (influence towards postpartum depression).

Was the sample reflective of the population from which it was drawn? Is representativeness important in this research? Please explain.

The sample was representative of the whole population due to the broad demographic categories utilized. A representative sample was important to allow the study to generalize the studys findings from the sample to the population. Besides, the representative sample for the study was important to avoid bias that would have otherwise mislead the findings and a consequent wrong practice, especially in the clinical setting.

Please explain any ethical concerns you may have about the sample and how
the sample was recruited.

The primary ethical sample about the sample is the confidentiality of the participants and the processes used to determine sexual abuse and other cases of humiliation. From the study, the participants were recruited through credible bodies (university ethics committee and involved health region), a situation that depicts ethical considerations during the selection exercise. The measures used during recruitment do not raise ethical concerns as proper ethical channels were followed.

Results

How were the data analyzed? (What qualitative data analysis technique was used?)

A descriptive data analysis technique is used to analyze the data. In this case, the relationship between the EPDS scores and ALPHA scores is investigated and consequently used to predict depression symptoms among the target group. The context of the study is adequately described since descriptions to support the findings are adequately availed. Here, the study several relationships are tested, including that of violence and substance abuse and likely predictors of depressive symptomatology. From the context of the study, the study corroborates its findings through thick descriptions as the participant behaviors are assessed and patterns of social relationships (substance abuse and violence) put into context to understand the depression trends.

How extensive or thick were the descriptions supporting findings? Was the context adequately described?

Entirely, the descriptions supporting the findings were extra thick or extensive. As evident in the discussion section, the researchers discussed each of the correlations in-depth, and at some point, they also used literature to support or contrast their findings.

How did the researchers corroborate their findings? For example, were triangulation, member checking, or thick descriptions used? If so, please explain how it was used. If not, explain what you would recommend to corroborate the findings.

In the context of the research, thick descriptions were used to corroborate the findings. The researcher elucidates the research processes, including the context and data collection, which ensures that the findings are of high quality. I would have recommended triangulation where the researchers use a combination of methods of data collection, like for instance, a questionnaire and a focus group or interview, to confirm the findings. Cross-validation of the research findings before making a conclusion is a valuable mechanism of cementing credibility and trustworthiness of a study.

To what degree do you find the research procedures increased the trustworthiness of the findings?

The degree at which the research procedures increased the trustworthiness of the findings is satisfactory. The research follows an appropriate research procedure from sample selection to data analysis. Again, the study references its findings with other previously done studies as a way of demonstrating consistency with the already established outcomes.

Explain how easy or difficult it was for you to understand the reporting of results. What questions do you have after reading the results section? Please elaborate.

Even though the researchers have strived to report the results in an easy to understand format, the results section leaves much to be desired. It would be challenging to convince a ready from the onset. Therefore, it would be prudent for the authors to consider using visual representations of the findings such as pie charts or graphs to depict the established relationships easily and conveniently.

Were the findings transferable, applicable, or useful for your population, setting or area of practice? What are the limits of transferability?

The findings are transferable. First off, they are consistent with previous literature that focuses on interpersonal violence among new mothers. Interpersonal violence is a ubiquitous problem that only differs in scale. The fact that the researchers pointed out that some of the independent and dependent variables make it transferable. The study helps to screen postpartum depression at the community level, everywhere and anywhere.

Do you feel the results of this study have meaning for social work practitioners or managers? Please elaborate.

Overall, the findings appear useful to the clinical practice area or social work practitioners since it provides additional insights on specific areas that can be addressed to avoid depressive episodes, especially among women.

Discussion

Explain whether or not the authors made sense of their data in the discussion section. Explain why you think the conclusions are (or are not) reasonable.

The authors made sense in their data as they focus on expressing relationships between different factors to depression. In this case, the study expounds on the findings of the study by examining other similar studies conducted to investigate the same phenomenon. Due to high consultations of other works, the conclusions arrived at are reasonable, and best communicates the objectives of the research.
Did the authors discuss the limitations of their study? Did they stay within the limitations of their findings, or did they make more of their findings than was warranted? Please elaborate.

The study similarly communicates the limitations of the study and strives to stay within the limitations of their findings. In this case, the author highlights the distinct areas the study is limited and suggests ways the study could have been promoted if the research was broader.

Did the author(s) suggest issues that future research should consider? If so, were there any surprises? Please elaborate

Future research suggestion is also made, such as exploring further interventions based on potentially modifiable risk factors that can be applied to minimize the rate of postpartum depression in women. The suggestion is expected considering most of the risk factors of postpartum depression can be reduced by improving the psychosocial aspects (alleviating violence and substance abuse).

         

References

Dennis, C. L., & Vigod, S. (2013). The relationship between postpartum depression, domestic violence, childhood violence, and substance use: Epidemiologic study of a large community sample. Violence against Women, 19(4), 503-517. DOI: 10.1177/1077801213487057

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