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Keywords:

  • cesarean section;
  • depression;
  • stress;
  • social support;
  • self-esteem

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine differences in psychosocial outcomes between primiparas experiencing vaginal deliveries and primiparas experiencing cesarean deliveries. One hundred and ninety-four vaginal delivery primiparas and 81 cesarean delivery primiparas from the Kaohsiung city area in Taiwan were recruited at 6 weeks postpartum to participate in this study. Using two-sample t tests, we found no significant differences in perceived stress, self-esteem, or depression between vaginal and cesarean delivery primiparas. However, the cesarean delivery primiparas showed a significantly higher level of perceived social support than vaginal delivery primiparas. Types of cesarean (planned vs. unplanned) and types of anesthesia (general vs. epidural) were not significant factors influencing psychosocial outcomes for cesarean delivery primiparas. The lack of substantial differences between the groups may be a result of the normalizing effect of the high cesarean birthrate and greater social support given to this method of childbirth. Cultural concerns of offspring gender and choosing an auspicious time for delivery may also have ameliorative effects on the occurrence of psychosocial difficulties with a cesarean delivery in Taiwan. © 2002 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Res Nurs Health 25:452–458, 2002.