Sunday, November 4, 2007

This presentation is part of : Research in Perinatal Issues
Physical Health, Depressive Symptoms, and Maternal Competence of Chinese Postpartum Mothers in the U.S
Ching-Yu Cheng, PhD, RN, Maternal Child Health, Virginia Commonwealth University, School of Nursing, Richmond, VA, USA
Learning Objective #1: Understand health status of Chinese postpartum mothers in the U.S.
Learning Objective #2: Understand the relationships between physical health, depressive symptoms, and maternal competence of Chinese postpartum mothers in the U.S.

Most studies about health of postpartum mothers focused on depression. However, health should include physical health, mental health, and role performance. Additionally, there is no studies about Chinese mothers’ health status in the U.S. Research questions included (a) What is mothers’ health status in physical health, depressive symptoms, and maternal competence, (b) what are the relationships among three aspects of health, and (c) what factors may influence mothers’ health. This study was a cross-sectional, correlational design. Snowball sampling was used to recruit 150 Chinese mothers within 1 year postpartum via electronic and paper surveys. The Self-rated Health Scale, Physical Concern Checklist, CES-D, and Parenting Sense of Competence Scale were used to measure health. Descriptive statistics, Pearson and Phi correlations were applied to answer research questions. Results showed that mothers had high educational level, 60.0% were primiparas, 70.7% delivered vaginally, 91.3% received traditional Chinese postpartum care, and 5.4% had postpartum complications. Only 65.4% of mothers considered health as good or excellent. More than half of mothers experienced breast/nipple problems, physical exhaustion, lack of sexual desire, interrupted sleep, and decreased memory at different time period within 2 months postpartum. Mothers who received postpartum care had lower occurrence rate of physical conditions/discomforts. Mothers did not perceived high competence on maternal role and 23.3% of mothers had potential of being depressed. Parity and length of stay in the US were positively correlated with maternal competence. Baby’s age was negatively correlated with physical health. Physical health, depressive symptoms, and maternal competence were correlated with each other. For Chinese mothers, healthcare professionals should respect and provide cultural care for its positive effects on physical health. Strategies that can improve mothers’ mental health and maternal competence should be applied. Future studies should view health in a holistic way, and focus on predictors and cultural differences of health.