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Maternal Self-Efficacy Buffers the Effects of COVID-19-Related Experiences on Postpartum Parenting Stress

  • Hung-Chu Lin
    Affiliations
    professor, Department of Psychology, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, LA and a sponsored collaborator, Department of Pediatric Newborn Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
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  • Paula L. Zeanah
    Affiliations
    Research Director, Cecil J. Picard Center for Child Development & Lifelong Learning, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, LA, and a professor, College of Nursing and Allied Health Professions, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, LA
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  • Amanda Koire
    Affiliations
    reproductive psychiatrist, Department of Psychiatry, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
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  • Leena Mittal
    Affiliations
    Chief of the Division of Women’s Mental Health, Department of Psychiatry, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
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  • Carmina Erdei
    Affiliations
    Medical Director, Growth and Development Unit, Department of Psychiatry, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
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  • Cindy H. Liu
    Correspondence
    Correspondence: Cindy H. Liu, PhD, Department of Pediatric Newborn Medicine and Department of Psychiatry, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 221 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA, 02115
    Affiliations
    assistant professor, Department of Pediatric Newborn Medicine and Department of Psychiatry, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
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Published:December 20, 2021DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jogn.2021.12.004
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      Abstract

      Objective

      To examine the associations of maternal self-efficacy (MSE) and perceived social support with parenting stress during the postpartum period during the COVID-19 pandemic and whether these two psychosocial factors account for variance in parenting stress in addition to the effects of COVID-19-related experiences and sociodemographic factors.

      Design

      Cross-sectional survey.

      Setting

      Online survey, the Perinatal Experiences and COVID-19 Effects (PEACE) Study, launched in May 2020.

      Participants

      Participants included 310 women who gave birth in the past 24 weeks.

      Methods

      The survey included self-report quantitative measures of MSE, social support, COVID-19-related experiences, parenting stress, symptoms of depression and anxiety, and a range of sociodemographic factors.

      Results

      Hierarchical multiple regression analysis indicated that MSE and social support were negatively associated with postpartum parenting stress in addition to the effects of COVID-19-related experiences, maternal symptoms of depression and anxiety, and a range of demographic factors. Furthermore, MSE interacted with the COVID-19-related experiences such that higher levels of MSE mitigated the effects of the COVID-19-related experiences on parenting stress.

      Conclusion

      Our findings underscore the importance of protective factors at the individual and interpersonal levels and provide insights for prevention and intervention programs aimed at mitigating postpartum parenting stress during a wide scale disaster such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

      Key Words