Maternal postpartum adjustment in Victoria's south west : a rural perspective

Ferrier-Lynn, Melissa, Reddy, Prasuna and Stewart, Ruth 2006, Maternal postpartum adjustment in Victoria's south west : a rural perspective, in GP & PHC Research Conference : optimising impact : program and abstracts, PHC RIS, Australia.

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Title Maternal postpartum adjustment in Victoria's south west : a rural perspective
Author(s) Ferrier-Lynn, Melissa
Reddy, Prasuna
Stewart, Ruth
Conference name GP & PHC Research Conference (2006 : Perth, W.A.)
Conference location Perth, W.A.
Conference dates 5-7 July 2006
Title of proceedings GP & PHC Research Conference : optimising impact : program and abstracts
Publication date 2006
Publisher PHC RIS
Place of publication Australia
Summary Aims & Rationale/Objectives
This study examined maternal postpartum adjustment in the first 12 months. Firstly, we were interested in examining whether Parental Functioning would be affected by living or not living in a major South West regional centre. Secondly, we were interested in whether Parental Functioning would differ as a function of infants being under or over 6 months of age. Thirdly, we were interested in whether Parental Functioning would differ as a function of pregnancy and birth complications. Finally, we were interested in whether postpartum perceptions of Role Competence/Satisfaction and Social Support would be associated with the Postnatal Depression.

Methods
The (preliminary) sample included 69 rural mothers recruited from across five shire regions within South West Victoria. Indicators of Parental Functioning were assessed using self-report questionnaires. Demographic and medical information was also collected. Respondents to the study were mailed a questionnaire pack which was returned in a reply-paid envelope.

Principal Findings
The results regarding geographical location were non-significant. There were significant differences in Wellbeing but not Role Competence/Satisfaction, or Social Support as a function of infant age. There were significant differences in Wellbeing, Role Competence/Satisfaction, and Social Connectedness (but not actual social support) as a function of Pregnancy Complications but not Birth Complications. Finally, Role Competence/Satisfaction and Social Connectedness (but not actual social support) significantly contributed to the variance in Postnatal Depression.

Discussion
Findings suggest that mothers did not differ as a function of their geographical location. Overall, mothers had higher levels of parental functioning when their infants were over 6 months of age, and also, if they did not experience pregnancy complications (physical, emotional, both). Additionally, findings suggest that perceptions of competence in and satisfaction with the parenting role, and also feelings of 'connectedness' to social others, are protective factors against the development of postpartum adjustment disorders.

Implications
Given that depressive episodes are common during childbearing years, and have both short- and long-term developmental effects on the infant, these findings support a need for the development and examination of a perinatal and infant mental health programme for rural mothers and infants.
Language eng
Field of Research 111717 Primary Health Care
HERDC Research category E3.1 Extract of paper
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30014962

Document type: Conference Paper
Collections: School of Medicine
Higher Education Research Group
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