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Author ORCID Identifier


Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Jennifer Randall

Subject Categories

Clinical Psychology | Counselor Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Health Policy | Other Psychology | Quantitative Psychology


Postpartum depression presents a complication for mothers which can, in some cases, be severe and even life-threatening. Instruments commonly used to screen for this psychological condition have been challenged by an extensive body of literature, with many mothers being unidentified and even untreated for their symptoms. The presented research introduces a newly developed screening instrument for detecting probable postpartum depression using text-free scenario-based animations, based on the lived experience of the condition as qualified by empirical research and the existing body of literature. Developed items were controlled for quality via Think Aloud Protocol and alignment studies with subject matter experts (mothers and clinicians). A consequently revised version of a scale was piloted within the United States (N=433) using an online survey platform and was tested for psychometric quality. Overall, the presented studies show promise for this newly developed tool and provide ample reason to believe that using animated scenario-based items to measure the construct of postpartum depression in a screening context is a viable option for practice and a method that deserves additional research. Additional research related to the practicality of this method of assessment and its potential to increase access and fairness in receiving care for mental health conditions is needed. The development of this assessment has the potential to innovate psychological screening practices and clinical assessment for patients at large. This approach to assessment, being patient-informed and technology-based, provides promise for lowering the rate of maternal suicide, creating a common language between patients and providers, and potentially expanding the field of psychological assessment by forming ways of reaching those who have been missed by limited screening tools (i.e., historically marginalized groups). By freeing instrument development from typical protocol and grounding the entire process in the lived experience, using animation introduces an innovative method of assessing which is not only feasible, but also favored by the users themselves.


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.