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Depression, Technology and Latino Health

Depression, Technology and Latino Health Research Group

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Alinne Barrera


[Updated: February 1, 2017]



The focus of this research group is on designing and testing depression interventions for underserved populations utilizing traditional (community-based) and innovative (Web-based) methods. Dr. Barrera’s research interests primarily focus on depression among women, Latinos, Spanish-speakers, and immigrant populations.  Her current research is on the use of technology-based tools to address mental health disparities among pregnant and postpartum women. All studies include Spanish- and English-speaking populations (local, national, and international).


Current Projects

  • The Mothers and Babies Internet Project: A pilot randomized controlled trial to examine a web-based prevention of postpartum depression intervention. Dr. Barrera has already completed the pilot RCT and is currently working on updating the intervention to reflect advances in technology. Given that the RCT reached pregnant women in over 100 countries, Dr. Barrera is also modifying the intervention to reflect a global mental health perspective.
  • Plans for upcoming year: Creation and testing of the new intervention site.
  • Student opportunities:
  • Manuscript preparation.
  • Development of intervention site, including addition of new content areas.


  • BabyText Study: The objective of this pilot study was to examine the acceptability and feasibility of a text messaging intervention that teaches women who are pregnant or just gave birth about depression, coping strategies based on cognitive behavioral therapy, and resources for community services. This pilot study is closed for recruitment and the manuscript is in preparation. The next version of the BabyText program is currently in development.
  • Plans for upcoming year: Pilot testing new SMS program.
  • Student opportunities:
  • Assist with testing of new SMS program
  • Collaboration with researchers at other institutions interested and/or planning to use the SMS program among women living in urban and rural areas of the U.S.


  • Pregnancy and Postpartum Wellness Survey: This study explored demographic characteristics that are related to socio-cultural themes relevant to women who are pregnant and/or who have recently given birth. This study is closed for recruitment. Data cleaning is currently underway.
  • Plans for the upcoming year: Manuscript preparation.
  • Student Opportunities:
  • Data analysis leading to manuscript preparation and conference presentations.


Student Expectations

Students in their 2nd and 3rd year are expected to be actively involved in Dr. Barrera’s research projects, including making significant contributions to the day-to-day activities, attending bi-weekly meetings, collaborating on manuscripts/presentations, etc. Each student is expected to co-author at least one manuscript for publication (in addition to conference presentations).


Dissertation projects

All members are expected to develop dissertation studies that align with their professional interests and training goals. Students will begin to discuss dissertation projects soon after joining the research group. A majority of students in this research group conduct dissertations that are original data collection.


Sample Dissertation Topics:

  • Mental health literacy in monolingual Spanish-speaking and English-speaking Latinos
  • The effects of familismo on violent behaviors among Latino adults
  • Maternal attachment as a predictor of depression among pregnant and postpartum Latina women
  • Internet-based compassionate mind training (iCMT) for mothers and their babies
  • The effects of perceived discrimination on the development of ethnic-racial identity among Latino college students
  • The validity of executive abilities: measure and instruments for neurobehavioral evaluation and research (examiner) in a Chinese-speaking population
  • Support, depression, and mindfulness after pregnancy: An examination of online Internet community support
  • Personality style and self-compassion in postpartum depression: Overview and results from a pilot on online prevention study.





Students with prior research experience, knowledge of web design or other technology-based skills,

and who are bilingual (Spanish/English) are encouraged to apply (not a requirement).


Accepted students will be expected to start in July 2017.


Submit all application materials electronically to Dr. Barrera []:

1.     Curriculum Vitae, including two references

2.     Transcripts (unofficial is fine)

3.     One or two page essay answering the following questions:

·       Describe your previous involvement in research.

·       Describe your current research and clinical interests.

























1791 Arastradero Road
Palo Alto, CA 94304

Phone: (800) 818-6136 Fax: (650) 433-3888





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