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Parental stress in early parenthood among mothers and fathers in Sweden
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences. Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Medicinska och farmaceutiska vetenskapsområdet, centrumbildningar mm, Centre for Clinical Research, County of Västmanland.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Medicinska och farmaceutiska vetenskapsområdet, centrumbildningar mm, Centre for Clinical Research, County of Västmanland.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3691-8326
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences. Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Medicinska och farmaceutiska vetenskapsområdet, centrumbildningar mm, Centre for Clinical Research, County of Västmanland.
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2013 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences, ISSN 0283-9318, E-ISSN 1471-6712, Vol. 27, no 4, 839-847 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background

Parental stress affects parenting behaviour and the quality of dyadic parent–child interactions. Mothers generally show higher parental stress than fathers.

Aims

Our aims were to assess the perceived level of parental stress in early parenthood and examine the differences between mothers and fathers within couples in relation to their levels of education, parental experience, existence of a parental role model and sense of coherence.

Methods

In total, 307 mothers and 301 fathers of 18-month-old children answered the Swedish Parenthood Stress Questionnaire (SPSQ); and 318 mothers and 311 fathers answered the Sense of Coherence (SOC-3) scale; 283 couples answered both the SPSQ and SOC-3.

Results

Mothers perceived higher levels of stress than fathers in the sub-areas incompetence (p < 0.001), role restriction (p < 0.001), spouse relationship problems (p = 0.004) and health problems (p = 0.027), and in total (p = 0.001). In contrast, fathers perceived higher stress than mothers in the sub-area social isolation (p < 0.001). When the data were stratified with respect to education, parental experience, existence of a parental role model and sense of coherence, significant results were observed in some of these sub-areas.

Conclusions

Mothers and fathers experience stress in different areas during their early parenthood. Healthcare professionals should be aware of the differences in stress that exist between mothers and fathers, so that parents can be adequately prepared for parenthood and avoid parental stress.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 27, no 4, 839-847 p.
National Category
Nursing
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-207916DOI: 10.1111/j.1471-6712.2012.01088.xISI: 000328140200008PubMedID: 23067055OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-207916DiVA: diva2:650336
Available from: 2013-09-20 Created: 2013-09-20 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Journey from Pregnancy to Early Parenthood: Perceived Needs of Support, Fathers’ Involvement, Depressive Symptoms and Stress
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Journey from Pregnancy to Early Parenthood: Perceived Needs of Support, Fathers’ Involvement, Depressive Symptoms and Stress
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Aims: The overall aim was to describe the perceived needs for support and fathers’ involvement among expectant parents, and to examine depressive symptoms and parental stress in early parenthood among mothers and fathers.

Methods: Two qualitative studies using focus groups and individual interviews, and three quantitative comparative studies using three questionnaires were conducted.

Results: The expectant parents had different needs and suggestions for health-care improvement. One improvement of these was better involvement of expectant fathers, as fathers were described as the mothers’ best means of support and also had needs of their own. The fathers used different strategies to get involved during the pregnancy, but sometimes found it difficult to know what was expected of them. The mothers perceived more depressive symptoms and parental stress than the fathers. The mothers also perceived higher dyadic consensus than the fathers. Parents with depressive symptoms reported lower consensus than those without. There was a negative correlation between dyadic consensus and depressive symptoms in both mothers and fathers. Mothers perceived higher parental stress than fathers in the sub-areas ‘Incompetence regarding parenthood’, ‘Role restriction’, ‘Spouse relationship problems’, and ‘Health problems’, and overall. In contrast, fathers perceived higher stress than mothers in the sub-area ‘Social isolation’. Low education, lack of a role model and poor sense of coherence promoted more stress in mothers in the sub-areas ‘Social isolation’ and ‘Spouse relationship problems’, while lack of a role model and low sense of coherence promoted stress in fathers in the sub-area ‘Social isolation’.

Conclusions and clinical implications: The expectant parents’ needs of support were not consistent with the support offered from health care services. These services need to become more client-centred, for example by offering customized individual support and peer support in groups. Further, they should also meet the needs of expectant fathers which can benefit the whole family. To promote parents’ health and family stability, health professionals should consider depressive symptoms and parental stress. They should also take gender norms into account so that parents become prepared for parenthood and get adequate support during early parenthood.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2015. 73 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Medicine, ISSN 1651-6206 ; 1057
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-237088 (URN)978-91-554-9119-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-01-28, Samlingssalen, Ingång 29, Västmanlands sjukhus, Västerås, 13:15 (Swedish)
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Supervisors
Available from: 2014-12-18 Created: 2014-11-26 Last updated: 2015-02-03

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Widarsson, MargaretaRosenblad, AndreasKerstis, BirgittaEdlund, BirgittaLundberg, Pranee

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Widarsson, MargaretaRosenblad, AndreasKerstis, BirgittaEdlund, BirgittaLundberg, Pranee
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