Depression among mothers with preterm infants and their stress-coping strategies

Sylvester N. Madu1, Johannes J. Roos2
1University of Limpopo, South Africa
2University of Limpopo, Solomon Islands
Cite this article:  Madu, S. N., & Roos, J. J. (2006). Depression among mothers with preterm infants and their stress-coping strategies. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 34(7), 877-890.

Volume 34 Issue 7 | e1522 | Published: August 2006 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.2006.34.7.877

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In this study we examined the level of maternal depressive symptoms and ways of coping among mothers with preterm infants as compared with those of 50 mothers with full-term babies. It was conducted in a hospital in Pretoria, South Africa, using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS; Cox, Holden, & Sagovsky, 1987) and the Ways of Coping Questionnaire (Folkman & Lazarus, 1988). No significant difference was found in the level of depression between the 2 groups. The overall level of depression found with both combined groups, was 2-3 times higher than those suggested in the literature. A positive correlation was found between the “Seeking Social Support” coping strategy and higher levels of depression among mothers of preterm infants. A positive correlation was also found among mothers of full-term infants who used the “Accepting Responsibility” coping strategy and higher levels of depression. The high number of mothers in this study identified as suffering from a depressive illness of varying severity raises concern. A clear need for professional help among this population is emphasized. Future research in this area is needed in order to better understand and effectively address this problem.

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