Get access

First-time mothers: social support, maternal parental self-efficacy and postnatal depression

Authors

  • Patricia Leahy-Warren,

    1. Authors: Patricia Leahy-Warren, PhD, MSc, BSc, HDPHN, RPHN, RM, RGN, Dip. Manag., Senior Lecturer, Catherine McAuley School of Nursing and Midwifery, Brookfield Health Sciences Complex, University College; Geraldine McCarthy, PhD, RGN, Professor, Dean and Head of School, Catherine McAuley School of Nursing and Midwifery, Brookfield Health Sciences Complex, University College; Paul Corcoran, BSc, PhD, Deputy Director, National Suicide Research Foundation, Cork, Ireland
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Geraldine McCarthy,

    1. Authors: Patricia Leahy-Warren, PhD, MSc, BSc, HDPHN, RPHN, RM, RGN, Dip. Manag., Senior Lecturer, Catherine McAuley School of Nursing and Midwifery, Brookfield Health Sciences Complex, University College; Geraldine McCarthy, PhD, RGN, Professor, Dean and Head of School, Catherine McAuley School of Nursing and Midwifery, Brookfield Health Sciences Complex, University College; Paul Corcoran, BSc, PhD, Deputy Director, National Suicide Research Foundation, Cork, Ireland
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Paul Corcoran

    1. Authors: Patricia Leahy-Warren, PhD, MSc, BSc, HDPHN, RPHN, RM, RGN, Dip. Manag., Senior Lecturer, Catherine McAuley School of Nursing and Midwifery, Brookfield Health Sciences Complex, University College; Geraldine McCarthy, PhD, RGN, Professor, Dean and Head of School, Catherine McAuley School of Nursing and Midwifery, Brookfield Health Sciences Complex, University College; Paul Corcoran, BSc, PhD, Deputy Director, National Suicide Research Foundation, Cork, Ireland
    Search for more papers by this author

Patricia Leahy-Warren, Senior Lecturer, Catherine McAuley School of Nursing and Midwifery, Brookfield Health Sciences Complex, University College, Cork, Ireland. Telephone: 353214901461.
E-mail:patricia.leahy@ucc.ie

Abstract

Aims and objectives.  To examine the relationships between social support, maternal parental self-efficacy and postnatal depression in first-time mothers at 6 weeks post delivery.

Background.  Social support conceptualised and measured in different ways has been found to positively influence the mothering experience as has maternal parental self-efficacy. No research exists which has measured the relationships between social support, underpinned by social exchange theory and maternal parental self-efficacy using a domain-specific instrument, underpinned by self-efficacy theory and postnatal depression, with first-time mothers at 6 weeks post delivery.

Design.  A quantitative correlational descriptive design was used.

Method.  Data were collected using a five-part questionnaire package containing a researcher developed social support questionnaire, the Perceived Maternal Parental Self-Efficacy Scale and the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. Four hundred and ten mothers completed questionnaires at 6 weeks post delivery.

Results.  Significant relationships were found between functional social support and postnatal depression; informal social support and postnatal depression; maternal parental self-efficacy and postnatal depression and informal social support and maternal parental self-efficacy at 6 weeks post delivery.

Conclusion.  Nurses and midwives need to be aware of and acknowledge the significant contribution of social support, particularly from family and friends in positively influencing first-time mothers’ mental health and well-being in the postpartum period. The development of health care policy and clinical guidelines needs to define and operationalise social support to enhance maternal parental self-efficacy.

Relevance to clinical practice.  These findings suggest that nurses and midwives need to be cognisant of the importance of social support for first-time mothers in both enhancing maternal parental self-efficacy and reducing postnatal depressive symptomatology in the early postpartum period.

Get access to the full text of this article

Ancillary