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Keywords:

  • maternal role;
  • midwifery;
  • social support;
  • exploratory common factor analysis;
  • measurement;
  • Hung Postpartum Stress Scale

Aims.  This paper reports a study whose purpose was to revalidate the Hung Postpartum Stress Scale by expanding and revising its contexts to reflect the social changes that have occurred in Taiwan over the last two decades.

Background.  Existing measures of general stress, which have also been used to assess postpartum stress, fail to measure women's specific childbearing stressors during the postpartum period. The Hung Postpartum Stress Scale was initially developed 11 years ago by Hung and associates to measure stress in the early postpartum period as it occurred in the Taiwanese social milieu of the time. However, revalidation was needed because of rapid changes in the Taiwanese social system.

Methods.  Employing a non-experimental, quantitative research design and a proportional stratified quota sampling of hospitals by birth rate, the revised instrument was completed by 861 postpartum women selected from clinics and hospitals in Taiwan.

Results.  An exploratory common factor analysis indicated the structure validity of three dimensions of postpartum stress: concerns about maternity role attainment, concerns about negative body changes, and concerns about lack of social support. With regard to generalizability of the factors across delivery type, education level, and income status subgroups within the population, high coefficients of congruence were shown. Moreover, the internal consistency reliabilities for the total Hung Postpartum Stress Scale and its three dimensions across the full sample and within pertinent sub-samples showed that it is a reliable tool for measuring postpartum stress.

Conclusions.  A series of analyses supported the validity and reliability of the revised Hung Postpartum Stress Scale. Additional research is recommended using confirmatory factor analysis to determine the stability of the factor structure identified in the present study.