The purpose of this literature review was to identify differentiating risk factors in women for postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis. By understanding differentiating risk factors health care professionals, and nurses in particular, can be alert to women who are at higher risk for postpartum depression or postpartum psychosis. This information allows for early nursing intervention and the development of appropriate treatment plans. Fifteen peer-reviewed, English language research articles published between 2000 and 2015 were analyzed for the purpose of this literature review. Study results were inconclusive for the intention of this review, but do provide valuable information on independent risk factors for both disorders. A history of depression and significant life stressors are strong predictors for postpartum depression. Whereas a history of bipolar disorder is strongly associated with the development of postpartum psychosis. Further research is needed to examine the role of genetics in both postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis and to further evaluate risk factors for postpartum psychosis, specifically in women with no history of bipolar disorder. Moreover, additional research needs to be conducted within the United States due to a lack of generalizability of studies conducted in other nations.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Bushy, Angeline


Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.)


College of Nursing


Orlando (Main) Campus



Access Status

Open Access

Release Date

August 2016