Mothers’ Experience with Household Roles and Social Support During the First Postpartum Year

Dwenda K Gjerdingen, Kathryn Chaloner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations

Abstract

This prospective, longitudinal study was conducted to investigate the changes in the division of: Household labor, and in the emotional and practical support received by new mothers during the first postpartum year. Questionnaires were completed by 436 married, recently employed mothers at 1, 3, 6, 9, and 12 months after they: Had delivered their Fist child. Results showed that women assumed primary responsibility for the majority of: Household tasks studied, and that they perceived declines over time in their: Husbands’ participation in: Household chores, their: Husbands’ and others’ expressions of caring, and in the frequency with which friends and relatives “helped out” during the year. Women who: Had: Had cesarean sections (versus those with vaginal deliveries) and who returned to work (versus those who stayed: Home) believed their: Husbands participated more in traditionally feminine: Household chores. Women’s satisfaction with their: Husbands’ contribution to: Household activities was significantly related to their own mental: Health, delivery type (cesarean section), job status (being at: Home vs. back at work), and family income; and to their: Husbands’ occupation, expressions of caring, and participation in child care and certain: Household chores (house cleaning, grocery shopping, cooking, washing clothes and dishes,: Household repairs, car maintenance, and garbage removal). Overall, these findings showed diminishing levels of emotional and practical support for women at a time when the need for support was likely greater: Following the birth of their fist child.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-74
Number of pages18
JournalWomen and Health
Volume21
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 24 1994

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
ABSTRACT. This prospective, longitudinal study was conducted to investigate the changes ig the division of household labor, and in the emotional and practical support received by new mothers during the first postpartum year. Questionnaires were completed by 436 married, recently employed mothers at l, 3.6, 9, and 12 months after they had delivered their Fist child. Results showed that women assumed primary responsibility for the majority of household tasks studied, and that they perceived declines over time in their husbands' participation in household chores, their husbands' and others' expressions of caring, and in the frequency with which friends and relatives "helped out" during the year. Women who had had cesarean sections (versus those with vaginal deliveries) and who returned to work (versus those who stayed home) believed their husbands par- ticipated more in traditionally feminine household chores. Women's satisfaction with their husbands' contribution to household activities was signif~cantlyr elated to their own mental health, delivery type (cesarean section), job status (being at home vs. back at work), and family income; and to their husbands' occupation, expressions of Dwenda K. Gjerdingen is affiliated with the Department of Family Practice and Community Health; and Kathryn Chaloner is affiliated with the Depanment of Applied Statistics, both at the University of Minnesota This study was supported by grants from the Rockefeller Foundation and Minnesota Medical Foundation. Address correspondence to: Dwenda K. Gjerdingen, MD, 590 Park Street, Suite 310, Saint Paul, MN 55103.

Copyright:
Copyright 2016 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

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