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Keywords:

  • infant care;
  • maternal competence;
  • maternal confidence;
  • maternal parenting stress;
  • postpartum women

liu c.-c., chen y.-c., yeh y.-p. & hsieh y.-s.(2011) Effects of maternal confidence and competence on maternal parenting stress in newborn care. Journal of Advanced Nursing 68(4), 908–918.

Abstract

Aim.  This paper is a report of a correlational study of the relations of maternal confidence and maternal competence to maternal parenting stress during newborn care.

Background.  Maternal role development is a cognitive and social process influenced by cultural and family contexts and mother and child characteristics. Most knowledge about maternal role development comes from western society. However, perceptions of the maternal role in contemporary Taiwanese society may be affected by contextual and environmental factors.

Methods.  A prospective correlational design was used to recruit 372 postpartum Taiwanese women and their infants from well-child clinics at 16 health centres in central Taiwan. Inclusion criteria for mothers were gestational age >37 weeks, ≥18 years old, and healthy, with infants <4 months old. Data were collected between August 2007 and January 2008 using a self-report questionnaire on mothers’ and infants’ demographic variables, maternal confidence, maternal competence and self-perceived maternal parenting stress.

Results.  After controlling for maternal parity and infant temperament, high maternal confidence and competence were associated with low maternal parenting stress. Maternal confidence influenced maternal parenting stress both directly and indirectly via maternal competence.

Conclusion.  To assist postpartum women in infant care programmes achieve positive outcomes, nurses should evaluate and bolster mothers’ belief in their own abilities. Likewise, nurses should not only consider mothers’ infant care skills, but also mothers’ parity and infant temperament. Finally, it is crucial for nurses and researchers to recognize that infant care programmes should be tailored to mothers’ specific maternal characteristics.