Background: This study explores mothers' wellbeing, experiences, and attitudes and the impact of cumulative demographic and antenatal risks and parity on parenting outcomes. A secondary aim was to assess mother and infant service utilisation.
Method: This study involved an assessment of the baseline characteristics of a sample of mothers (N = 190; Mean age = 31.6 years, SD = 5.4) with young infants (average age = 10.13 weeks, SD = 0.8) living in disadvantaged communities in Ireland.
Results: Mothers with more risk factors (e.g., lone and/or teenage parenthood, socioeconomic disadvantage, and low social support) reported significantly higher levels of depression and lower parental self-efficacy. Observations of the home environment indicated that at-risk parents engaged in less cognitive stimulation and lower levels of emotional support for their child. The impact of these risk factors differed for primiparous and multiparous mothers.
Conclusions: At-risk mothers are more susceptible to mental health difficulties and poorer parenting outcomes during the transition to parenthood. This study also provides important comparative insights into experiences of primiparous and multiparous parents. These findings have important implications for practitioners and policy makers, particularly the provision of universal and proportionate supports to prevent and/or interrupt poor parent–child relationships and negative developmental outcomes.
- maternal well-being
- mother–infant interaction
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health