Stress, Depressive Symptoms, and Maternal Self-Efficacy in First-Time Mothers: Modelling and Predicting Change across the First Six Months of Motherhood

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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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-147
Number of pages22
JournalApplied Psychology: Health and Well-Being
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019

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Self Efficacy
Postpartum Period
Mothers
Depression
Third Pregnancy Trimester
Psychology
Growth
Research

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@article{366ae019174e4f039ad7c3f2c61e47a1,
title = "Stress, Depressive Symptoms, and Maternal Self-Efficacy in First-Time Mothers: Modelling and Predicting Change across the First Six Months of Motherhood",
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.",
keywords = "anxiety, community health, maternal health, mental health, psychological distress",
author = "Law, {Kwok Hong} and James Dimmock and Guelfi, {Kym J.} and Thinh Nguyen and Daniel Gucciardi and Ben Jackson",
year = "2019",
month = "3",
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doi = "10.1111/aphw.12147",
language = "English",
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journal = "Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being",
issn = "1758-0846",
publisher = "Wiley-Blackwell",
number = "1",

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T2 - Modelling and Predicting Change across the First Six Months of Motherhood

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AU - Dimmock, James

AU - Guelfi, Kym J.

AU - Nguyen, Thinh

AU - Gucciardi, Daniel

AU - Jackson, Ben

PY - 2019/3/1

Y1 - 2019/3/1

N2 - 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.

AB - 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.

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