Document Type

Capstone Experience

Graduation Date


Degree Name

Master of Public Health


Health Promotion

First Committee Member

Michelle Strong, PhD

Second Committee Member

Marisa Rosen, PhD

Third Committee Member

Brandon Grimm, PhD


The perinatal period can have a profound impact on the mental health of women, their infants, and their families, especially when it comes to depression and anxiety disorders. This study aims to delve into the experiences of perinatal mental health among military spouses stationed overseas, on Naval Air Station Sigonella, Italy, and contribute to the limited research on active-duty military spouses and their perinatal mental health while stationed overseas. The research uses a qualitative phenomenological approach, seeking to provide valuable insights into the lived experiences of military spouses and their perinatal mental health. Risk factors associated with perinatal mental illness are reviewed and highlight the specific challenges faced by military families, such as employment restrictions and social support difficulties. Participants were recruited through popular Sigonella Facebook pages using convenience and snowball sampling methods. One-on-one interviews were conducted through Zoom, with a primary focus on participants' perinatal mental health experiences. The data analysis followed an inductive approach, and common themes and patterns were identified through iterative coding of interview transcripts. The study involved five adult female military spouses aged between 26 and 40. Themes identified from interviews included the impact of pregnancy and birth in Sicily on mental health, the need for various forms of support, the quality of care from Military Treatment Facilities (MTF), and challenges associated with medical care outside the base. Participants reported experiencing a range of emotions during pregnancy, including excitement, fear, anxiety, and isolation. The discussion highlights the complexities of mental health care access and the influence of social and familial support systems during the perinatal period.