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Wellbeing of new mothers
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Professor Helen McConachie
Professor Louise Parker
Dr Tony Waterston
McConachie H, Hammal D, Welsh B, Keane B, Cook M, Parker L, Waterston AJR
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This paper reports indicators of wellbeing and early parenting stress in a representative sample of first-time mothers in north-east England. A total of 185 mothers were recruited in the antenatal period to a controlled trial of an early parenting intervention. They were interviewed at home when the baby was aged around one month, and completed the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ12) and the Parenting Daily Hassles Scale. Almost half of mothers reported psychological distress above the accepted GHQ12 cut-off point. However, distress was not related to variables such as low socio-economic status, as had been predicted. Early parenting stress was greater in relatively more educated and older mothers. New motherhood is likely to be stressful, even where mothers do not have postpartum depression, and so a range of supports is required.
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