Background: Accumulating evidence suggests that social support is an important factor with regard to maternal psychological distress. The associations between the contextual factors in terms of social support and the risk of maternal psychological distress have not been adequately studied in Japan. The objective of this study was to examine the association of the presence of advisors on child rearing with maternal anxiety and depressive symptoms among Japanese women at 2 time points after childbirth.
Methods: A self-administered questionnaire that included items regarding the conditions of child rearing and a scale to estimate psychological distress was delivered to 2657 mothers when their infants were 3-4 months and 9-10 months old in 2004-2005. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was conducted for the statistical analyses.
Results: From the multivariate odds ratio, an environment with a few close advisors on child rearing was associated with the risks of maternal anxiety and depressive symptoms at 3-4 months and 9-10 months. The presence of few professional advisors on child rearing was also related to the risk of maternal depressive symptoms at the 2 time periods. The companionship of other child-rearing individuals was related to depressive symptoms at 9-10 months.
Conclusion: An environment without advisors on child rearing was associated with maternal psychological distress. A similarity between the observations at the 2 time points was that the presence of personal and professional advisors was related to maternal anxiety and/or depressive symptoms. It was noted that the need for other child-rearing companions increases as the child grows older.
2008 by Japan Epidemiological Association