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Abstract

The extent to which life change after birth of a baby and instrumental support of parenting predict the occurrence of illness in mothers of 6-month-olds was studied. Mothers (N = 155) were selected from an urban clinic and from the birth records of a suburban hospital. All data were collected with questionnaires and interviews in mothers' homes when infants were 6 months old. Age, race, socioeconomic status, and prior illness were used as control variables in the analyses. Life change and intensity of support were positively related, and size of the support network was negatively related to illness. There was no evidence for the buffering effect of support. Findings confirmed that life change helps predict postpartal illness, and revealed that characteristics of instrumental support differ in their importance as predictors.