The perception of infant temperament in fatigued, anxious, and/or depressed, low-income, urban postpartum women and the role of social support: A secondary analysis of data




Smith, Karen Kozlowski

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Low-income, urban, minority mothers face disproportionate healthcare challenges. Accordingly, they have increased rates of morbidity following childbirth and are at risk for negative outcomes associated with postnatal fatigue, anxiety and depression. The maternal state can affect the relationship between mother and infant. Mothers who are depressed, anxious or fatigued have a tendency to assign a negative value to their infant's behavior. Infants who are perceived by their mother as fussy/difficult are likely to experience less physical closeness, have a shorter duration of breastfeeding and are at risk for abuse. This study explored predictors of maternal perception of difficult infant temperament. Through regression analysis, maternal age and fatigue were identified as being significant predictors. Among low-income, urban, minority mothers at twelve weeks postpartum, those who were younger and fatigued were more likely to perceive their infant as temperamentally difficult. However, satisfaction with the support received from an identified "partner" or "other" appeared to buffer the effects of fatigue on maternal perception of infant difficultness at varying levels of support satisfaction.



Health sciences, Nursing, Fatigue, Infant temperament, Low-income, Mothers, Postpartum, Social support