Advertisement

Sex Roles

, Volume 76, Issue 5–6, pp 290–305 | Cite as

Postpartum Depression in Mothers and Fathers: The Role of Parenting Efficacy Expectations During the Transition to Parenthood

  • Christi L. GrossEmail author
  • Kristen Marcussen
Original Article

Abstract

Research demonstrates that belief in one’s effectiveness as a parent (parenting efficacy) is linked to numerous positive outcomes for new parents. Conversely, the perceived inability to meet expectations is associated with negative mental health consequences for mothers and fathers. In the present paper we examine the impact of parenting efficacy expectations on the mental health statuses of new parents. Using three waves of data spanning from the prenatal period to the 4-months postpartum period from a sample of 150 first-time mothers and fathers in the Midwestern United States, we find that parenting efficacy is negatively associated with postpartum depression (PPD) for both mothers and fathers throughout the transition period. We also find that mothers and fathers whose parenting efficacy experiences were more negative than expected reported higher levels of PPD at 1-month postpartum. This effect dissipates for mothers, but not fathers, by 4-months postpartum, suggesting differences in the experiences of mothers and fathers during this transition. We conclude that research on the transition to parenthood should continue to include fathers in an effort to better understand the mental health consequences of becoming a parent for the first time, as well as enhance interventions designed to assist couples experiencing this important transition.

Keywords

Transition to parenthood Parenting efficacy Unmet expectations Postpartum depression 

Notes

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Disclosure of potential conflicts of interest

There are no known potential conflicts of interest.

Research involving Human Participants

As a secondary data analysis, this research was reviewed and approved by our institution’s Institutional Review Board as Level I/Exempt research.

Informed Consent

As a secondary data analysis, this research was reviewed and approved by our institution’s Institutional Review Board as Level I/Exempt research.

Funding sources

No external funding sources were used to fund this research.

References

  1. American Psychiatric Association. (2010). PPD research and awareness. Retrieved from http://www.psych.org.
  2. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington: American Psychiatric Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Aneshensel, C. S., Rutter, C. M., & Lachenbruch, P. A. (1991). Social structure, stress, and mental health: Competing conceptual and analytical models. American Sociological Review, 56, 166–178. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/2095777.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Arbuckle, J. L. (2012). IBM SPSS Amos 21 user’s guide. Crawfordville: Amos Development Corporation.Google Scholar
  5. Bandura, A. (1977). Self-efficacy: Towards a unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychological Review, 4, 191–215. doi: 10.1037/0033-295X.84.2.191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bandura, A. (1981). Self-referent thought: A developmental analysis of self-efficacy. In J. H. Flavell & L. D. Ross (Eds.), Social cognitive development: Frontiers and possible futures (pp. 200–239). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action: A social cognitive theory. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  8. Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York: Freeman and Company.Google Scholar
  9. Bandura, A. (2012). On the functional properties of perceived self-efficacy revisited. Journal of Management, 38, 9–44. doi: 10.1177/0149206311410606.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Barclay, L., & Lupton, D. (1999). The experiences of new fatherhood: A socio-cultural analysis. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 29, 1013–1020. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2648.1999.00978.x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Bearden, W. O., Sharma, S., & Teel, J. E. (1982). Sample size effects on chi square and other statistics used in evaluating causal models. Journal of Marketing Research, 19, 425–430. doi: 10.2307/3151716.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Beck, C. T. (1998). The effects of postpartum depression on child development: A meta-analysis. Archives of Psychiatric Nursing, 12, 12–20. doi: 10.1016/S0883-9417(98)80004-6.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Beck, C. T. (2001). Predictors of postpartum depression: An update. Nursing Research, 50, 275–285.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Beck, C. T., & Gable, R. K. (2000). Postpartum depression screening scale: Development and psychometric testing. Nursing Research, 49, 272–282.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Belsky, J. (1985). Exploring individual differences in marital change across the transition to parenthood: The role of violated expectations. Journal of Marriage and Family, 47, 1037–1044. doi: 10.2307/352348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Biehle, S. N., & Mickelson, K. D. (2011a). Personal and co-parent predictors of parenting efficacy across the transition to parenthood. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 30, 985–1010. doi: 10.1521/jscp.2011.30.9.985.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Biehle, S. N., & Mickelson, K. D. (2011b). Preparing for parenthood: How feelings of responsibility and efficacy impact expectant parents. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 28, 668–683. doi: 10.1177/0265407510385493.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Biehle, S., & Mickelson, K. D. (2012). First-time parents’ expectations about the division of childcare and play. Journal of Family Psychology, 26, 36–45. doi: 10.1037/a0026608.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Bielawska-Batorowicz, E., & Kossakowska-Petrycka, K. (2006). Depressive mood in men after the birth of their offspring in relation to a partner’s depression, social support, fathers’ personality and prenatal expectations. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology, 24, 21–29. doi: 10.1080/02646830500475179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Bollen, K. A. (1990). Overall fit in covariance structure models: Two types of sample size effects. Psychological Bulletin, 107, 256–259. doi: 10.1037//0033-2909.107.2.256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Bost, K. K., Cox, M. J., Burchinal, M. R., & Payne, C. (2002). Structural and supportive changes in couples’ family and friendship networks across the transition to parenthood. Journal of Marriage and Family, 64, 517–531. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2002.00517.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Carlson, D. L. (2011). Explaining the curvilinear relationship between age at first birth and depression among women. Social Science and Medicine, 72, 494–503. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2010.12.001.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Carlson, D. L., & Williams, K. (2011). Parenthood, life course expectations, and mental health. Society and Mental Health, 1, 20–40. doi: 10.1177/2156869310394541.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  24. Coleman, P. K., & Karraker, K. H. (2000). Parenting self-efficacy among mothers of school-age children: Conceptualization, measurement, and correlates. Family Relations, 49, 13–25. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3729.2000.00013.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Coleman, P. K., & Karraker, K. H. (2003). Maternal self-efficacy beliefs, competence in parenting, and toddlers’ behavior and developmental status. Infant Mental Health Journal, 24, 126–148. doi: 10.1002/imhj.10048.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Cowan, C. P., & Cowan, P. A. (1995). Interventions to ease the transition to parenthood: Why they are needed and what they can do. Family Relations, 44, 412–423. doi: 10.2307/584997.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Cowan, C. P., Cowan, P. A., Heming, G., Garrett, E., Coysh, W. S., Curtis-Boles, H., … Boles, A. J., III. (1985). Transitions to parenthood: His, hers, and theirs. Journal of Family Issues, 6, 451–481. doi: 10.1177/019251385006004004.
  28. Črnčec, R., Barnett, B., & Matthey, S. (2010). Review of scales of parenting confidence. Journal of Nursing Measurement, 18, 210–240. doi: 10.1891/1061-3749.18.3.210.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Curtis, J. A., Blume, L. B., & Blume, T. W. (1997). Becoming a father: Marital perceptions and behaviors of fathers during pregnancy. Michigan Family Review, 3, 31–44. Retrieved from http://quod.lib.umich.edu/m/mfr/4919087.0003.104?view=text;rgn=main.Google Scholar
  30. Cutrona, C. E., & Troutman, B. R. (1986). Social support, infant temperament, and parenting self-efficacy: A mediational model of postpartum depression. Child Development, 57, 1507–1518. doi: 10.1111/1467-8624.ep7252276.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Deave, T., & Johnson, D. (2008). The transition to parenthood: What does it mean for fathers? Journal of Advanced Nursing, 63, 626–633. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2008.04748.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Derogatis, L. R. (1994). SCL-90-R: Administration, scoring, and procedures manual. Minneapolis: National Computer Systems, Inc.Google Scholar
  33. Don, B. P., & Mickelson, K. D. (2012). Paternal postpartum depression: The role of maternal postpartum depression, spousal support, and relationship satisfaction. Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice, 1, 323–334. doi: 10.1037/a0029148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Doss, B. D., Rhoades, G. K., Stanley, S. M., & Markman, H. (2009). The effect of the transition to parenthood on relationship quality: An eight year prospective study. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 96, 601–619. doi: 10.1037/a0013969.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  35. Doss, B. D., Cicila, L. N., Hsueh, A. C., Morrison, K. R., & Carhart, K. (2014). A randomized controlled trial of brief coparenting and relationship interventions during the transition to parenthood. Journal of Family Psychology, 28, 483–494. doi: 10.1037/a0037311.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  36. Eagly, A. H., & Wood, W. (1999). The origins of sex differences in human behavior: Evolved dispositions versus social roles. American Psychologist, 54, 408–423. doi: 10.1037/0003-066X.54.6.408.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Feldman, S. S., & Nash, S. C. (1984). The transition from expectancy to parenthood: Impact of the firstborn child on men and women. Sex Roles, 11, 61–78. doi: 10.1007/BF0028744.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Fenwick, J., Bayes, S., & Johansson, M. (2012). A qualitative investigation into the pregnancy experiences and childbirth expectations of Australian fathers-to-be. Sexual & Reproduction Healthcare, 3, 3–9. doi: 10.1016/j.srhc.2011.11.001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Gerdes, A. C., Hoza, B., Arnold, E., Pelham, W. E., Swanson, J. M., Wigal, T., & Jensen, P. S. (2007). Maternal depressive symptomatology and parenting behavior: Exploration of possible mediators. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 35, 705–714. doi: 10.1007/s10802-007-9134-3.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. Goodman, J. H. (2004a). Becoming an involved father of an infant. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing, 34, 190–200. doi: 10.1177/0884217505274581.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Goodman, J. H. (2004b). Paternal postpartum depression, its relationship to maternal postpartum depression, and implications for family health. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 45, 26–35. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2648.2003.02857.x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Harwood, K., McLean, N., & Durkin, K. (2007). First-time mothers’ expectations of parenthood: What happens when optimistic expectations are not matched by later experiences? Developmental Psychology, 43, 1–12. doi: 10.1037/0012-1649.43.1.1.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. Holmes, E. K., Sasaki, T., & Hazen, N. L. (2013). Smooth versus rocky transitions to parenthood: Family systems in developmental context. Family Relations, 62, 824–837. doi: 10.1111/fare.12041.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Horwitz, A. V. (2002). Outcomes in the sociology of mental health and illness: Where have we been and where are we going? Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 43, 143–151. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/3090193.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. Hudson, D. B., Elek, S. M., & Fleck, M. O. (2001). First-time mothers‘ and fathers’ transition to parenthood: Infant care self-efficacy, parenting satisfaction, and infant sex. Issues in Comprehensive Pediatric Nursing, 24, 31–43. doi: 10.1080/014608601300035580.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. Hyde, J. S., Mezulis, A. H., & Abramson, L. Y. (2008). The ABCs of depression: Integrating affective, biological, and cognitive models to explain the emergence of the gender difference in depression. Psychological Review, 115, 291–313. doi: 10.1037/0033-295X.115.2.291.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. Iacobucci, D. (2010). Structural equations modeling: Fit indices, sample size, and advanced topics. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 20, 90–98. doi: 10.1016/j.jcps.2009.09.003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Jones, T. L., & Prinz, R. J. (2005). Potential roles of parental self-efficacy in parent and child adjustment: A review. Clinical Psychology Review, 25, 341–363. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2004.12.004.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  49. Kach, J. A., & McGhee, P. E. (1982). Adjustment of early parenthood: The role of accuracy of preparenthood experiences. Journal of Family Issues, 3, 375–388. doi: 10.1177/019251382003003007.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  50. Kamp Dush, C. M., Rhoades, G. K., Sandberg-Thoma, S. E., & Schoppe-Sullivan, S. J. (2014). Commitment across the transition to parenthood among married and cohabiting couples. Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice, 3, 126–136. doi: 10.1037/cfp0000006.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  51. Katon, W., Russo, J., & Gavin, A. (2014). Predictors of postpartum depression. Journal of Women’s Health, 23, 753–759. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2014.4824.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  52. Katz-Wise, S. L., Priess, H. A., & Hyde, J. S. (2010). Gender-role attitudes and behavior across the transition to parenthood. Developmental Psychology, 46, 18–28. doi: 10.1037/a0017820.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  53. Khazan, I., McHale, J. P., & Decourcey, W. (2008). Violated wishes about division of childcare labor predict early coparenting process during stressful and nonstressful family evaluations. Infant Mental Health Journal, 29, 343–361. doi: 10.1002/imhj.20183.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  54. Knoester, C., & Eggebeen, D. (2006). The effects of the transition to parenthood and subsequent children on men’s well-being and social participation. Journal of Family Issues, 27, 1532–1560. doi: 10.1177/0192513X06290802.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Krieg, D. B. (2007). Does motherhood get easier the second time around? Examining parenting stress and relationship quality among mothers having their first or second child. Parenting: Science and Practice, 7, 149–175. doi: 10.1080/15295190701306912.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Lawrence, E., Cobb, R. J., Rothman, A. D., Rothman, M. T., & Bradbury, T. N. (2008). Marital satisfaction across the transition to parenthood. Journal of Family Psychology, 22, 41–50. doi: 10.1037/0893-3200.22.1.41.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  57. Leerkes, E. M., & Burney, R. V. (2007). The development of parenting efficacy among new mothers and fathers. Infancy, 12, 45–67. doi: 10.1080/15250000701298964.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Leerkes, E. M., & Crockenberg, S. C. (2002). The development of maternal self-efficacy and its impact on maternal behavior. Infancy, 3, 227–247. doi: 10.1207/S15327078IN0302_7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Maciejewski, P. K., Prigerson, H. G., & Mazure, C. M. (2000). Self-efficacy as a mediator between stressful life events and depressive symptoms: Differences based on history of prior depression. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 176, 373–378. doi: 10.1192/bjp.176.4.373.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  60. Magaletta, P. R., & Oliver, J. M. (1999). The hope construct, will, and ways: Their relations with self-efficacy, optimism, and general well-being. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 55, 539–551. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1097-4679(199905)55:5<539::AID-JCLP2>3.0.CO;2-G.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  61. Milkie, M. A., & Peltola, P. (1999). Playing all the roles: Gender and the work-family balancing act. Journal of Marriage and Family, 61, 476–490. doi: 10.2307/353763.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. O’Hara, M. W., Schlechte, J. A., Lewis, D. A., & Varner, M. W. (1991). Controlled prospective study of postpartum mood disorders: Psychological, environmental, and hormonal variables. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 100, 63–73. doi: 10.1037//0021-843X.100.1.63.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  63. Page, M., & Wilhelm, M. S. (2007). Postpartum daily stress, relationship quality, and depressive symptoms. Contemporary Family Therapy, 29, 237–251. doi: 10.1007/s10591-007-9043-1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Paulson, J. F., & Bazemore, S. D. (2010). Prenatal and postpartum depression in fathers and its association with maternal depression: A meta-analysis. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 303, 1961–1969. doi: 10.1001/jama.2010.605.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  65. Perry-Jenkins, M., Goldberg, A. E., Pierce, C. P., & Sayer, A. G. (2007). Shift work, role overload, and the transition to parenthood. Journal of Marriage and Family, 69, 123–138. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2006.00349.x.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  66. Porter, C. L., & Hsu, H. (2003). First-time mothers’ perceptions of efficacy during the transition to motherhood: Links to infant temperament. Journal of Family Psychology, 17, 54–64. doi: 10.1037/0893-3200.17.1.54.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  67. Power, T. G., & Parke, R. D. (1984). Social network factors and the transition to parenthood. Sex Roles, 10, 949–972. doi: 10.1007/BF00288517.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Radloff, L. S. (1977). The CES-D Scale: A self-report depression scale for research in the general population. Applied Psychological Measurement, 1, 385–401. doi: 10.1177/014662167700100306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Rosenfield, S., Lennon, M. C., & White, H. R. (2005). The self and mental health: Self-salience and the emergence of internalizing and externalizing problems. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 46, 323–340. doi: 10.1177/002214650504600402.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  70. Roy, R. N., Schumm, W. R., & Britt, S. L. (2014). Transition to parenthood. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  71. Salmela-Aro, K., Aunola, K., Saisto, T., Halmesmäki, E., & Nurmi, J. E. (2006). Couples share similar changes in depressive symptoms and marital satisfaction anticipating the birth of a child. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 23, 781–803. doi: 10.1177/0265407506068263.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Schoppe-Sullivan, S. J., Altenburger, L. E., Settle, T. A., Kamp Dush, C. M., Sullivan, J. M., & Bower, D. J. (2014). Expectant fathers’ intuitive parenting: Associations with parent characteristics and postpartum positive engagement. Infant Mental Health Journal, 35, 409–421. doi: 10.1002/imhj.21468.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  73. Segre, L. S., O’Hara, M. W., Arndt, S., & Stuart, S. (2007). The prevalence of postpartum depression: The relative significance of three social status indices. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 42, 316–321. doi: 10.1007/s00127-007-0168-1.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  74. Simon, R. W., & Barrett, A. E. (2010). Nonmarital romantic relationships and mental health in early adulthood: Does the association differ for women and men? Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 51, 168–182. doi: 10.1177/0022146510372343.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  75. Sockol, L. E., Epperson, C. N., & Barber, J. P. (2014). The relationship between maternal attitudes and symptoms of depression and anxiety among pregnant and postpartum first-time mothers. Archives of Women’s Mental Health, 17, 199–212. doi: 10.1007/s00737-014-0424-9.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  76. Strecher, V. J., McEvoy DeVellis, B., Becker, M. H., & Rosenstock, I. M. (1986). The role of self-efficacy in achieving health behavior change. Health Education Quarterly, 13, 73–91. doi: 10.1177/109019818601300108.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  77. Teti, D. M., & Gelfand, D. M. (1991). Behavioral competence among mothers of infants in the first year: The mediational role of maternal self-efficacy. Child Development, 62, 918–929. doi: 10.1111/1467-8624.ep9112161637.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  78. Teti, D. M., O’Connell, M. A., & Reiner, C. D. (1996). Parenting sensitivity, parental depression and child health: The mediational role of parental self-efficacy. Early Development and Parenting, 5, 237–250. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1099-0917(199612)5:4<237::AID-EDP136>3.0.CO;2-5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Troutman, B., Moran, T. E., Arndt, S., Johnson, R. F., & Chmielewski, M. (2012). Development of parenting self-efficacy in mothers of infants with high negative emotionality. Infant Mental Health Journal, 33, 45–54. doi: 10.1002/imhj.20332.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Twenge, J. M., Campbell, W. K., & Foster, C. A. (2003). Parenthood and martial satisfaction: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Marriage and Family, 65, 574–583. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2003.00574.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Umberson, D., Pudrovska, T., & Reczek, C. (2010). Parenthood, childlessness, and well-being: A life course perspective. Journal of Marriage and Family, 72, 612–629. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2010.00721.x.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  82. Wells, J. D., Hobfoll, S. E., & Lavin, J. (1999). When it rains, it pours: The greater impact of resource loss compared to gain on psychological distress. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 25, 1172–1182. doi: 10.1177/01461672992512010.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. White, L. K., & Booth, A. (1985). The transition to parenthood and marital quality. Journal of Family Issues, 6, 435–449. doi: 10.1177/019251385006004003.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  84. Zhao, J., Settles, B. H., & Sheng, X. (2011). Family-to-work conflict: Gender, equity and workplace policies. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 42, 723–738. doi: 10.2307/41604481.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyKent State UniversityKentUSA

Personalised recommendations