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Predictors of family and marital functioning at early postpartum

Authors

  • Fei Wan Ngai PhD RM,

    Assistant Professor
    1. School of Nursing, The Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong
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  • Siew Fei Ngu MBBS (London) MRCOG

    Clinical Assistant Professor
    1. Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Queen Mary Hospital, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong
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Correspondence to F.W. Ngai:

e-mail: fwngai@hku.hk

Abstract

Aim

To examine the predictive role of family sense of coherence, social support and stress during pregnancy and their changes from pregnancy to postpartum on family and marital functioning at 6 weeks postpartum.

Background

Family sense of coherence plays a significant role in promoting positive family and marital functioning, which is crucial to the child's well-being. However, studies that evaluate the predictive role of family sense of coherence on family and marital functioning during parental transition are limited.

Design

The study used a longitudinal design.

Methods

Chinese childbearing couples (n = 202) completed assessments of family sense of coherence, stress, social support, and family and marital functioning during pregnancy and at 6 weeks postpartum between January 2011–May 2012.

Results/Findings

Mothers with a stronger family sense of coherence, greater social support and less stress during pregnancy experienced less decline in family and marital functioning at 6 weeks postpartum, while fathers with a higher prenatal family sense of coherence and family and marital functioning also experienced less such decline.

Conclusion

Couple-based interventions should be initiated early during pregnancy by strengthening family sense of coherence and social support to promote positive family functioning.

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