Stress, depressive symptoms, and maternal self-efficacy in first-time mothers: modelling and predicting change across the first six months of motherhood

Law, Kwok Hong, Dimmock, James, Guelfi, Kym J., Jackson, Ben, Nguyen, Thinh, and Gucciardi, Daniel (2019) Stress, depressive symptoms, and maternal self-efficacy in first-time mothers: modelling and predicting change across the first six months of motherhood. Applied psychology: health and wellbeing, 11 (1). pp. 126-147.

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Abstract

Background: First-time mothers commonly experience stress and depressive symptoms in the postpartum period. Maternal self-efficacy has been shown to be an important protective factor against these experiences; however, research on the dynamic nature of stress, depressive symptoms, and maternal self-efficacy is limited. The aim of this study was to document changes in these psychological factors among first-time mothers, and determine how early maternal self-efficacy perceptions may predict change in stress and depressive symptoms over the first 6 months postpartum. Methods: Sixty first-time Australian mothers were recruited during their third trimester of pregnancy. Participants completed a baseline survey during the third trimester of pregnancy (M = 32.87 weeks, SD = 2.62 weeks), and subsequently reported stress, depressive symptoms, and maternal self-efficacy every 3 weeks postpartum for 6 months. Latent growth curve modelling was used to estimate participants’ change over time for stress and depressive symptoms. Results: First-time mothers’ stress and depressive symptoms peaked, and maternal self-efficacy was weakest, at 3 weeks postpartum. Maternal self-efficacy at 3 weeks postpartum was a significant (negative) predictor of 3-week levels of, and also (positively) predicted later reductions in, stress. Conclusion: Future interventions aimed at bolstering early maternal self-efficacy may protect against postpartum stress for first-time mothers.

Item ID: 61536
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1758-0854
Keywords: anxiety, community health, maternal health, mental health, psychological distress
Copyright Information: © 2018 The International Association of Applied Psychology.
Date Deposited: 04 Feb 2020 04:07
FoR Codes: 17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920507 Womens Health @ 50%
92 HEALTH > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920599 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) not elsewhere classified @ 50%
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