Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Science

Dissertation Committee

L. Colette Jones, PhD, RN, C, Chair; Diane C. Hatton, DNSc, RN; Mary Jo Abascal-Hildebrand, EdD


acculturation, Hmong, maternal sensitivity, mental health, motherhood, nursing, Posttraumatic Stress, Vietnamese, women


The purposes of this study were to determine if posttraumatic stress (PTS), depression, and anxiety occurred in a community sample of Vietnamese and Hmong mothers and to describe relationships between PTS, depression, anxiety, acculturation and maternal sensitivity. Transition theory (Bridges, 1980), and a conceptual model of parenting in immigrant populations building on Belsky's (1984) work, provided the theoretical framework (Foss, 1996). The sample was divided evenly between Vietnamese and Hmong participants. Ages ranged from 17–43 years, time lived in the United States ranged from 3–21 years, and education ranged from no formal education to completion of college. Maternal sensitivity was measured with Ainsworth's Sensitivity vs. Insensitivity to the Communication of the Baby Scale; PTS, depression, and anxiety with the Vietnamese and Hmong versions of the Hopkins Symptom Checklist-25 (HSCL-25), and acculturation with the Suinn-Lew Self-identity Acculturation Scale (SL-ASIA). The SL-ASIA was translated into Vietnamese and Hmong prior to data collection. All data were collected by the investigator in the home. Interpreters were used for half of the sample. The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences 6.1 (SPSS) was used to analyze the data, explore relationships, and perform regression analyses. Results were (a)Vietnamese mothers experience PTS, anxiety, and depression to the same degree as the general Vietnamese and Hmong population, (b)Hmong mothers experience PTS, depression and anxiety to a much greater degree than Vietnamese mothers, (c)maternal sensitivity remained very high, even when clinical levels of PTS, anxiety, or depression were present, (d) there was a trend for more depressed Vietnamese mothers to be less sensitive to their infants, but for more depressed Hmong mothers to be more sensitive to their infants, and (e)more acculturated mothers tended to be less sensitive mothers. Further analyses revealed that the number of years spent in transit from the homeland to the United States was associated with greater maternal sensitivity, especially in the Hmong group; lower maternal sensitivity was associated with a greater number of the husband's family living in the United States, and having more pregnancies was strongly associated with greater depression. Recommendations for research and practice were offered.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access



Included in

Nursing Commons