• maternal role competence and satisfaction;
  • perinatal period;
  • stress


The changes in and relationships among stress, maternal role competence, and satisfaction in the perinatal period were examined using a longitudinal design. A convenience sample of 78 first-time Chinese mothers completed assessments of stress and maternal role competence during pregnancy and at 6 weeks and 6 months postpartum. Maternal stress increased and role competence declined during early motherhood, which highlighted the potential influence of stress on maternal role competence and satisfaction in the perinatal period. Culturally competent health care interventions should be developed to promote maternal competence and satisfaction, in particular during early motherhood, and to equip women with effective coping skills to deal with the stress of maternal role transition. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Res Nurs Health 35:30–39, 2012