Title : Social support, parenting self-efficacy, and postpartum depression among Chinese parents: The actor-partner interdependence mediation model
Background: As the most common complication of childbirth, postpartum depression affects both mothers and fathers, and its prevalence has been steadily rising in recent years. There is a need to include both parents in research to understand their interaction effects.
Objective: This study aimed to (a) compare the differences in social support, parenting self-efficacy, and postpartum depression between the parents; (b) explore the relationships of these variables among the parents; (c) examine the actor–partner interdependent effects of social support and parenting self-efficacy on maternal and paternal postpartum depression; and (d) assess the mediating effect of parenting self-efficacy between social support and postpartum depression in both parents.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out in Guangzhou, China, between December 2020 and July 2021, with 309 pairs of parents participating. The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS), Social Support Rating Scale (SSRS), Parenting Sense of Competence Scale-Efficacy subscale (PSOC-E), and socio-demographic data form were all completed by both parents.
Results: 20.7 % of mothers and 11.7% of fathers suffered from postpartum depression at six weeks postpartum. The actor-partner interdependence mediation model revealed six actor effects, such as both parents’ social support is negatively associated with their own postpartum depression through parenting self-efficacy; one partner effect demonstrated a positive association between maternal social support and paternal parenting self-efficacy, which was mediated by paternal parenting self-efficacy.
Conclusions: Family-centered interventions are necessary, and in particular, increasing mother-centered social support can effectively improve the parenting self-efficacy of both parents to avoid the onset of postpartum depression.
Keywords: Postpartum depression; social support; parenting self-efficacy; parents; actor-partner interdependence mediation model
Audience Take Away Notes:
- 20.7 % of mothers and 11.7% of fathers suffered from postpartum depression at six weeks postpartum.
- Maternal social support was negatively associated with paternal postpartum depression mediated by paternal parenting self-efficacy.
- The present study provided novel family-based empirical evidence to help healthcare providers make decisions. The emphasis should be on enhancing social support, especially for mothers who experience considerable psychosocial distress, and optimizing the parents’ mental health.
- Importantly, this study formulated a new conceptual framework for clinical interventions to prevent postpartum depression for the whole family, which can effectively guide mother-centered family intervention strategies, particularly during in the postpartum period.