Elements and outcomes of a postpartum support group program

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Abstract

Questionnaires were sent to 90 women who had participated in a lay postpartum support group program to determine (a) the characteristics of the women who used this form of support, (b) the needs met by the group, (c) the types of discussions most meaningful to group members, and (d) the factors that influenced the group's effectiveness in providing support. Sixty-six questionnaires were returned. The respondents were older, better educated, and more affluent than a random sample of childbearing women. They joined the group primarily to meet other women going through the same experience with whom they could share ideas and feelings. The most meaningful discussions for these women focused on personal issues rather than infant-related issues. The presence of babies at group meetings adversely affected the regularity of attendance. Women who worked outside the home were significantly more likely to continue meeting with the group for over a year. Only 7 women thought the group would have been better for them if their husbands had been present.

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