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Social Support, Infant Temperament, and Parenting Self-Efficacy: A Mediational Model of Postpartum Depression

Carolyn E. Cutrona and Beth R. Troutman
Child Development
Vol. 57, No. 6 (Dec., 1986), pp. 1507-1518
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1130428
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1130428
Page Count: 12
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Social Support, Infant Temperament, and Parenting Self-Efficacy: A Mediational Model of Postpartum Depression
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Abstract

A model of maternal postpartum depression was tested in which (a) difficult infant temperament was construed as a stressor and (b) supportive interpersonal relationships were construed as a protective resource. It was hypothesized that both infant temperamental difficulty and level of social support would affect maternal depression through the cognitive mediation of perceived self-efficacy in the parenting role. Participants were 55 married women who were assessed during pregnancy and again 3 months postpartum. Infant temperament was assessed through observation, maternal crying records, and the Revised Infant Temperament Questionnaire. Results of a path analysis indicated that infant temperamental difficulty was strongly related to the mothers' level of postpartum depression, both directly and through the mediation of parenting self-efficacy. Consistent with predictions, social support appeared to exert its protective function against depression primarily through the mediation of self-efficacy. Both practical implications for identifying women at risk for postpartum depression and theoretical implications for understanding the mechanisms through which stressful events and social support affect adjustment are discussed.

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