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Parental stress and depressive symptoms increase the risk of separation among parents with children less than 11 years of age in Sweden
Malardalen Univ, Sch Hlth Care & Social Welf, S-72218 Vasteras, Sweden.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Medicinska och farmaceutiska vetenskapsområdet, centrumbildningar mm, Centre for Clinical Research, County of Västmanland.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1771-4635
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Medicinska och farmaceutiska vetenskapsområdet, centrumbildningar mm, Centre for Clinical Research, County of Västmanland. Karolinska Inst, Dept Med, Stockholm, Sweden.
Malardalen Univ, Sch Hlth Care & Social Welf, S-72218 Vasteras, Sweden.
2019 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, ISSN 1403-4948, E-ISSN 1651-1905, Vol. 47, no 2, p. 207-214Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Aims: Parental separations have become more frequent in recent decades. In Western countries, about 25% of children experience parental separation. There is a need to explore the risk factors for separation to give children an optimal childhood. The objective of the present study was to examine parental stress and depressive symptoms during early parenthood and their association with parental separation.

Methods: Four hundred and seven couples completed questionnaires on depressive symptoms for 3 months and parental stress for 18 months after childbirth. Total parental stress and five sub-areas were investigated. To study the separation rate, parents' addresses were recorded 9 to 11 years after childbirth.

Results: Twenty-nine percent of the parents were separated 9 to 11 years after childbirth. Separation was associated with depressive symptoms at 3 months (mothers p = .002, fathers p = .025) and total parental stress at 18 months after childbirth (mothers p = .010, fathers p = .005). The sub-areas of parental stress, Spouse relationship problems (mothers p = <.001, fathers p = .001) and fathers' Social isolation (p = .005), were associated with separation. In multivariable regression analyses of the parents' separation rate 9 to 11 years after childbirth, the only significant predictor was mothers' Spouse relationship problems (p < .001).

Conclusions: The knowledge that parental stress and depressive symptoms are risk factors for separation may simplify professional support for parents in early parenting. Courses for new and expectant parents can use this knowledge to increase parents' awareness.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 47, no 2, p. 207-214
Keywords [en]
After childbirth, couples, dyadic consensus, parenthood, social isolation, spouse relationship problems
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-381828DOI: 10.1177/1403494817724312ISI: 000462758700016PubMedID: 28803506OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-381828DiVA, id: diva2:1305644
Available from: 2019-04-17 Created: 2019-04-17 Last updated: 2019-04-17Bibliographically approved

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Nohlert, EvaÖhrvik, John

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