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Keywords:

  • childrearing anxiety;
  • childrearing burden;
  • cross-sectional study;
  • quality of life

Abstract

Background:  The government of Japan has recently initiated public programs to allay maternal childrearing anxiety. The aim of the present study was to determine the prevalence of childrearing anxiety and describe its relationships with perceived childrearing burden and maternal quality of life (QOL).

Methods:  A secondary analysis was done of survey data from 1229 mothers enrolled in the Seiiku Birth Cohort Study at the National Center for Child Health and Development between November 2003 and December 2006. Childrearing anxiety was determined by asking mothers, at infant age 3 months, ‘Regarding childrearing, do you have any anxiety or worry?’. Childrearing burden was assessed in specific categories such as physical fatigue, household expenses, and personal time. The validated Japanese translation of the WHOQOL-BREF instrument was used to measure Maternal QOL.

Results:  Sixty-four percent of mothers reported some and 9% much childrearing anxiety. In total, 73% percent of mothers reported any childrearing anxiety. As childrearing anxiety increased from ‘none’ to ‘some’ and ‘much’, the proportion of mothers who reported any childrearing burden increased from 75% to 99% (P < 0.001). QOL scores in each of four domains (physical, psychological, social relationships, and environment) decreased with increasing level of anxiety (P < 0.001). Primiparity, pregnant with more than a singleton and admission to the neonatal intensive care unit were associated with greater anxiety.

Conclusions:  The strong associations between childrearing anxiety and childrearing burden, and between childrearing anxiety and maternal QOL, suggest that childrearing anxiety is an empirically credible and measurable phenomenon.