Background: Learned resourcefulness plays a significant role in facilitating maternal coping during the transition to motherhood. Given the growing evidence of perinatal depression and the frequent feeling of incompetence in the maternal role, the implementation of an effective intervention to promote maternal role competence and emotional well-being is essential. Objectives: To determine the impact of a childbirth psychoeducation program based on the concept of learned resourcefulness on maternal role competence and depressive symptoms in Chinese childbearing women. Design: A pretest-posttest, control group quasi-experimental design with repeated measures was used. Setting: The study was conducted in two regional public hospitals in Hong Kong that provide routine childbirth education programs with similar content and structure. One hospital was being randomly selected as the experimental hospital. Participants: A convenience sample of 184 Chinese pregnant women attending the childbirth education was recruited between October 2005 and April 2007. Inclusion criteria were primiparous with singleton and uneventful pregnancy, at gestation between 12 and 35 weeks, and did not have a past or familial psychiatric illness. Methods: The intervention was a childbirth psychoeducation program that was incorporated into the routine childbirth education in the experimental hospital. The experimental group (n = 92) received the childbirth psychoeducation program and the routine childbirth education. The comparison group (n = 92) received the routine childbirth education alone in the comparison hospital. Outcomes were measured by the Self-Control Schedule, Parenting Sense of Competence Scale-Efficacy subscale and Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale at baseline, immediately post-intervention, at 6 weeks and 6 months postpartum. Analysis was by intention to treat. Results: Women receiving the childbirth psychoeducation program had significant improvement in learned resourcefulness at 6 weeks postpartum (p = 0.004) and an overall reduction in depressive symptoms (p = 0.01) from baseline to 6 months postpartum compared with those who only received the routine childbirth education after adjusting for baseline group differences on age and social support. No significant group difference was found on maternal role competence. Conclusions: The childbirth psychoeducation program appears to be a very promising intervention for promoting learned resourcefulness and minimizing the risk of perinatal depression in first-time Chinese childbearing women. Future empirical work is required to determine the effectiveness of extending the childbirth psychoeducation program into the early postpartum for the promotion of maternal role competence in Chinese childbearing women.
- Childbirth psychoeducation program
- Learned resourcefulness
- Maternal role competence
- Perinatal depression
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