Sunday, November 4, 2007

This presentation is part of : Research in Perinatal Issues
Stress and Social Support 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 stress and social support of Chinese postpartum mothers in the US.
Learning Objective #2: Understand the relationships between stress and social support of Chinese postpartum mothers in the US.

Stress was found to have negative impacts on maternal health while social support mediated/moderated the impact of stress. However, support may be viewed negatively by Chinese mothers especially when it is from mother-in-law. Research questions of this study included (a) What is Chinese mothers’ level of stress and support, (b) what are the relationships between stress and support, and (c) what is the effect of parents-in-law on mothers? The 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 Perceived Stress Scale, Duke Social Support and Stress Scale, and Postpartum Support Questionnaire were used to measure stress and support. Descriptive statistics, Pearson correlations, and Mann-Whitney U tests were applied. Mothers in the study had high educational level, most were primiparas and delivered vaginally. Mothers’ level of global stress was higher than that of general population norm for females and ethnic minority people in the US. Mothers perceived higher level of stress from family members than from non-family members. Parents-in-law, husband, and child(ren) were the most frequently mentioned people who brought on most stress. Mothers thought support was important, however; did not receive as high level of support. Husband and friends were the most frequently mentioned people who provided the most support. Support mothers received was negatively correlated with global stress. Stress brought on by people was positively correlated with global stress while global stress was positively correlated with the importance of support. Whether mothers lived with or perceived stress from parents-in-law did not differ in their perception of support received. Strategies that reduce stress and inclusion of supportive people in care can be applied to postpartum care. Cultural sensitive instruments that focused on postpartum life events can help to understand more about Chinese mothers’ stress.