The Fatigue and Depressive Symptom Relationship in Mothers of Young Children: the Moderating Role of Mindfulness

Abstract

Previous studies have demonstrated that fatigue is a risk factor for depressive symptoms in mothers of young children. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether the five facets of mindfulness moderated the relationship between fatigue and depressive symptoms in mothers of young children. A sample of 723 mothers of children aged 1–5 years completed the Fatigue Assessment Scale, the Centre for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale, and the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire-Short Form. Results showed that four out of the five mindfulness facets (non-judging of inner experience, non-reactivity to inner experience, acting with awareness, and describing) weakened the relationship between fatigue and depressive symptoms. Interaction effects were found to be small. Further investigation of the unique roles of the five mindfulness facets as well as other possible protective factors and interventions that may weaken the fatigue-depressive symptom relationship in mothers of young children is warranted.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1

References

  1. Baer, R. A., Smith, G. T., Hopkins, J., Krietemeyer, J., & Toney, L. (2006). Using self-report assessment methods to explore facets of mindfulness. Assessment, 13(1), 27–45. https://doi.org/10.1177/1073191105283504.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. Baer, R. A., Smith, G. T., Lykins, E., Button, D., Krietemeyer, J., Sauer, S., … Williams, J. M. G. (2008). Construct validity of the five-facet mindfulness questionnaire in meditating and non-meditating samples. Assessment, 15(3), 329–342. doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/1073191107313003.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Barnes, S. M., & Lynn, S. J. (2010). Mindfulness skills and depressive symptoms: a longitudinal study. Imagination, Cognition and Personality, 30(1), 77–91. https://doi.org/10.2190/ic.30.1.e.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Barnhofer, T., Duggan, D. S., & Griffith, J. W. (2011). Dispositional mindfulness moderates the relation between neuroticism and depressive symptoms. Personality and Individual Differences, 51(8), 958–962. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2011.07.032.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  5. Beck, C. T. (2001). Predictors of postpartum depression. Nursing Research, 50(5), 275–285. https://doi.org/10.1097/00006199-200109000-00004.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  6. Beer, M., Ward, L., & Moar, K. (2013). The relationship between mindful parenting and distress in parents of children with an autism spectrum disorder. Mindfulness, 4(2), 102–112. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-012-0192-4.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Bohlmeijer, E., ten Klooster, P. M., Fledderus, M., Veehof, M., & Baer, R. (2011). Psychometric properties of the five facet mindfulness questionnaire in depressed adults and development of a short form. Assessment, 18(3), 308–320. https://doi.org/10.1177/1073191111408231.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  8. Brennan, P. A., Hammen, C., Andersen, M. J., Bor, W., Najman, J. M., & Williams, G. M. (2000). Chronicity, severity, and timing of maternal depressive symptoms: relationships with child outcomes at age five. Developmental Psychology, 36(6), 759–766. https://doi.org/10.1037/0012-1649.36.6.759.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  9. Brown, K. W., & Ryan, R. M. (2003). The benefits of being present: mindfulness and its role in psychological well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(4), 822–848. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.84.4.822.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  10. Brown, D. B., Bravo, A. J., Roos, C. R., & Pearson, M. R. (2015). Five facets of mindfulness and psychological health: evaluating a psychological model of the mechanisms of mindfulness. Mindfulness, 6(5), 1021–1032. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-014-0349-4.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  11. Bylsma, L. M., Morris, B. H., & Rottenberg, J. (2008). A meta-analysis of emotional reactivity in major depressive disorder. Clinical Psychology Review, 28, 676–691. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2007.10.001.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  12. Cash, M., & Whittingham, K. (2010). What facets of mindfulness contribute to psychological well-being and depressive, anxious, and stress-related symptomatology? Mindfulness, 1(3), 177–182. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-010-00234.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Ciesla, J. A., Reilly, L. C., Dickson, K. S., Emanuel, A. S., & Updegraff, J. A. (2012). Dispositional mindfulness moderates the effects of stress among adolescents: rumination as a mediator. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 41(6), 760–770. https://doi.org/10.1080/15374416.2012.698724.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Cooklin, A. R., Giallo, R., & Rose, N. (2011). Parental fatigue and parenting practices during early childhood: an Australian community survey. Child Care Health and Development, 38(5), 654–664. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2214.2011.01333.x.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Corp, I. B. M. (2011). IBM SPSS statistics for Mac, Version 20.0. Armonk: IBM Corp.

    Google Scholar 

  16. Desrosiers, A., Vine, V., Klemanski, D. H., & Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (2013). Mindfulness and emotion regulation in depression and anxiety: common and distinct mechanisms of action. Depression and Anxiety, 30(7), 654–661. https://doi.org/10.1002/da.22124.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  17. Desrosiers, A., Vine, V., Curtiss, J., & Klemanski, D. H. (2014). Observing nonreactively: a conditional process model linking mindfulness facets, cognitive emotion regulation strategies, and depression and anxiety symptoms. Journal of Affective Disorders, 165, 31–37. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2014.04.024.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  18. Dimidjian, S., Goodman, S. H., Felder, J. N., Gallop, R., Brown, A. P., & Beck, A. (2014). An open trial of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for the prevention of perinatal depressive relapse/recurrence. Archives of Women’s Mental Health, 18(1), 85–94. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00737-014-0468-x.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  19. Doering Runquist, J. J., Morin, K., & Stetzer, F. C. (2009). Severe fatigue and depressive symptoms in lower-income urban postpartum women. Western Journal of Nursing Research, 31(5), 599–612. https://doi.org/10.1177/0193945909333890.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  20. Duncan, L. G., & Bardacke, N. (2010). Mindfulness-based childbirth and parenting education: promoting family mindfulness during the perinatal period. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 19(2), 190–202. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-009-9313-7.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  21. Dunn, C., Hanieh, E., Roberts, R., & Powrie, R. (2012). Mindful pregnancy and childbirth: effects of a mindfulness-based intervention on women’s psychological distress and well-being in the perinatal period. Archives of Women’s Mental Health, 15(2), 139–143. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00737-012-0264-4.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  22. Dunning, M. J., & Giallo, R. (2012). Fatigue, parenting stress, self-efficacy and satisfaction in mothers of infants and young children. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology, 30(2), 145–159. https://doi.org/10.1080/02646838.2012.693910.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Feldman, G., Dunn, E., Stemke, C., Bell, K., & Greeson, J. (2014). Mindfulness and rumination as predictors of persistence with a distress tolerance task. Personality and Individual Differences, 56, 154–158. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2013.08.040.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Gallagher, S., & Hannigan, A. (2014). Depression and chronic health conditions in parents of children with and without developmental disabilities: the growing up in Ireland cohort study. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 35(2), 448–454.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Giallo, R., Wood, C. E., Jellett, R., & Porter, R. (2011). Fatigue, wellbeing and parental self-efficacy in mothers of children with an autism spectrum disorder. Autism, 17(4), 465–480. https://doi.org/10.1177/1362361311416830.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  26. Giallo, R., Cooklin, A., Dunning, M., & Seymour, M. (2014). The efficacy of an intervention for the management of postpartum fatigue. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursing, 43(5), 598–613. https://doi.org/10.1111/1552-6909.12489.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Giallo, R., Gartland, D., Woolhouse, H., & Brown, S. (2015). Differentiating maternal fatigue and depressive symptoms at six months and four years post partum: considerations for assessment, diagnosis and intervention. Midwifery, 31(2), 316–322. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.midw.2014.09.005.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  28. Gjerdingen, D., McGovern, P., Attanasio, L., Johnson, P. J., & Kozhimannil, K. B. (2014). Maternal depressive symptoms, employment, and social support. The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, 27(1), 87–96. https://doi.org/10.3122/jabfm.2014.01.130126.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  29. Goldstein, S., Naglieri, J. A., Princiotta, D., & Otero, T. M. (2014). Introduction: a history of executive functioning as a theoretical and clinical construct. In Handbook of executive functioning (pp. 3–12). New York: Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  30. Goodman, S. H., Rouse, M. H., Connell, A. M., Broth, M. R., Hall, C. M., & Heyward, D. (2011). Maternal depression and child psychopathology: a meta-analytic review. Clinical Child Family Psychology Review, 14(1), 1–27. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10567-010-0080-1.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  31. Hayes, A. F. (2012). PROCESS: a versatile computational tool for observed variable mediation, moderation, and conditional process modeling [White paper]. Retrieved from http://www.afhayes.com/public/process2012.pdf.

  32. Hofmann, S. G., Sawyer, A. T., Witt, A. A., & Oh, D. (2010). The effect of mindfulness-based therapy on anxiety and depression: a meta-analytic review. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 78(2), 169–183. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0018555.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  33. Holtzer, R., & Foley, F. (2010). The relationship between subjective reports of fatigue and executive control in multiple sclerosis. Journal of the Neurological Sciences, 281(718), 46–50. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jns.2009.02.360.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Jimenez, S. S., Niles, B. L., & Park, C. L. (2010). A mindfulness model of affect regulation and depressive symptoms: positive emotions, mood regulation expectancies, and self-acceptance as regulatory mechanisms. Personality and Individual Differences, 49(6), 645–650. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2010.05.041.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Johns, S. A., Brown, L. F., Beck-Coon, K., Monahan, P. O., Tong, Y., & Kroenke, K. (2014). Randomized controlled pilot study of mindfulness-based stress reduction for persistently fatigued cancer survivors. Psycho-Oncology, 24(8), 885–893. https://doi.org/10.1002/pon.3648.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  36. Joyce, E., Blumenthal, S., & Wessely, S. (1996). Memory, attention, and executive function in chronic fatigue syndrome. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, 60(5), 495–503. https://doi.org/10.1136/jnnp.60.5.495.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  37. Kabat-Zinn, J. (1990). Full catastrophe living: using the wisdom of your body and mind to face stress, pain, and illness. New York: Bantum Dell.

    Google Scholar 

  38. Keng, S. L., Smoski, M. J., & Robins, C. J. (2011). Effects of mindfulness on psychological health: a review of empirical studies. Clinical Psychology Review, 31(6), 1041–1056. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2011.04.006.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  39. Kienhuis, M., Rogers, S., Giallo, R., Matthews, J., & Treyvaud, K. (2010). A proposed model for the impact of parental fatigue on parenting adaptability and child development. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology, 28(4), 392–402. https://doi.org/10.1080/02646830903487383.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Lagerveld, S. E., Bültmann, U., Franche, R. L., van Dijk, F. J. H., Vlasveld, M. C., van der Feltz-Cornelis, C. M., et al. (2010). Factors associated with work participation and work functioning in depressed workers: a systematic review. Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, 20(3), 275–292. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10926-009-9224-x.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  41. Leahy-Warren, P., McCarthy, G., & Corcoran, P. (2011). First-time mothers: social support, maternal parental self-efficacy and postnatal depression. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 21(3–4), 388–397. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2702.2011.03701.x.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  42. Lenz, E. R., Pugh, L. C., Milligan, R. A., Gift, A., & Suppe, F. (1997). The middle-range theory of unpleasant symptoms: an update. Advances in Nursing Science, 19, 14–27. https://doi.org/10.1097/00012272-199703000-00003.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  43. Luyten, P., Sabbe, B., Blatt, S. J., Meganck, S., Jansen, B., De Grave, C., … Corveleyn, J. (2007). Dependency and self-criticism: relationship with major depressive disorder, severity of depression, and clinical presentation. Depression and Anxiety, 24(8), 586–596. doi:https://doi.org/10.1002/da.20272.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Mauthner, N. (1995). Postnatal depression: the significance of social contacts between mothers. Women’s Studies International Forum, 18(3), 311–323. https://doi.org/10.1016/0277-5395(95)00027-a.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  45. McGonagle, K. A., & Kessler, R. C. (1990). Chronic stress, acute stress, and depressive symptoms. American Journal of Community Psychology, 18(5), 681–706. https://doi.org/10.1007/bf00931237.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  46. Michielsen, H. J., De Vries, J., Van Heck, G. L., Vijver, V. D., & Sijtsma, K. (2004). Examination of the dimensionality of fatigue: the construction of the fatigue assessment scale (FAS). European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 20(1), 39–48. https://doi.org/10.1027/1015-5759.20.1.39.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  47. Neale-Lorello, D., & Haaga, D. A. F. (2015). The “observing” facet of mindfulness moderates stress/symptom relations only among meditators. Mindfulness, 6(6), 1286–1291. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-015-0396-5.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  48. Negron, R., Martin, A., Almog, M., Balbierz, A., & Howell, E. A. (2012). Social support during the postpartum period: mothers’ views on needs, expectations, and mobilization of support. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 17(4), 616–623. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10995-012-1037-4.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  49. North American Nursing Diagnosis Association (NANDA). (2001). NANDA nursing diagnosis: definitions and classification, 2001–2002. Philadelphia: Nursecom.

    Google Scholar 

  50. Paris, R., Bolton, R. E., & Weinberg, M. K. (2009). Postpartum depression, suicidality, and mother-infant interactions. Archive of Womens Mental Health, 12(5), 309–321. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00737-009-0105-2.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  51. Peeters, F., Berkhof, J., Delespaul, P., Rottenberg, J., & Nicolson, N. A. (2006). Diurnal mood variation in major depressive disorder. Emotion, 6, 383–391. https://doi.org/10.1037/1528-3542.6.3.383.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  52. Preacher, K., Rucker, D., & Hayes, A. (n.d.). Demystifying moderated mediation: a unified framework for investigating conditional mediation effects in psychological research. PsycEXTRA Dataset. doi:https://doi.org/10.1037/e633962013-648.

  53. Radloff, L. S. (1977). The CES-D scale: a self-report depression scale for research in the general population. Applied Psychological Measurement, 1(3), 385–401. https://doi.org/10.1177/014662167700100306.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  54. Raes, F. (2011). The effect of self-compassion on the development of depression symptoms in a non-clinical sample. Mindfulness, 2(1), 33–36. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-011-0040-y.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  55. Raes, F., & Williams, J. M. G. (2010). The relationship between mindfulness and uncontrollability of ruminative thinking. Mindfulness, 1(4), 199–203. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-010-0021-6.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  56. Rimes, K. A., & Wingrove, J. (2013). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for people with chronic fatigue syndrome still experiencing excessive fatigue after cognitive behaviour therapy: a pilot randomized study. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 20(2), 107–117. https://doi.org/10.1002/cpp.793.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  57. Schulberg, H. C. (1985). Assessing depression in primary medical and psychiatric practices. Archives of General Psychiatry, 42(12), 1164. https://doi.org/10.1001/archpsyc.1985.01790350038008.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  58. Shahar, B., Britton, W. B., Sbarra, D. A., Figueredo, A. J., & Bootzin, R. R. (2010). Mechanisms of change in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for depression: preliminary evidence from a randomized controlled trial. International Journal of Cognitive Therapy, 3(4), 402–418. https://doi.org/10.1521/ijct.2010.3.4.402.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  59. Sohr-Preston, S. L., & Scaramella, L. V. (2006). Implications of timing of maternal depressive symptoms for early cognitive and language development. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 9(1), 65–83. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10567-006-0004-2.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  60. Taylor, B. L., Cavanagh, K., & Strauss, C. (2016). The effectiveness of mindfulness-based interventions in the perinatal period: a systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS One, 11(5), 1–29. https://doi.org/10.1097/hrp.0000000000000013.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  61. Wade, C., Giallo, R., & Cooklin, A. (2012). Maternal fatigue and depression: identifying vulnerability and relationship to early parenting practices. Advances in Mental Health, 10(3), 277–291. https://doi.org/10.5172/jamh.2012.10.3.277.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  62. Whitton, S. W., & Whisman, M. A. (2010). Relationship satisfaction instability and depression. Journal of Family Psychology, 24(6), 791–794. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0021734.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  63. Woolhouse, H., Gartland, D., Mensah, F., & Brown, S. (2014). Maternal depression from early pregnancy to 4 years postpartum in a prospective pregnancy cohort study: implications for primary health care. British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, 122(3), 312–321. https://doi.org/10.1111/1471-0528.12837.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

KR designed and executed the study, conducted the data analyses and data collection, and wrote the manuscript and the revisions. AG supervised the design, execution, and data collection of the study, advised with data analyses of the study, and assisted with the editing of the manuscript and the revisions. SM advised with the data analyses of the study and assisted with the editing of the manuscript and the revisions. JC assisted with the design and data collection of the study and with the editing of the first draft of the manuscript. VS advised with the data analyses of the study and with the editing of the first draft of the manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Suzanne McLaren.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This research was approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee of Federation University Australia.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants in the study.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Riley, K., Gent, A., McLaren, S. et al. The Fatigue and Depressive Symptom Relationship in Mothers of Young Children: the Moderating Role of Mindfulness. Mindfulness 9, 1955–1965 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-018-0941-0

Download citation

Keywords

  • Mothers
  • Fatigue
  • Depressive symptoms
  • Mindfulness
  • Parenting