The Influence of Work Patterns, Social Support, and Sociodemographics on Stress, Anxiety, and Depression Among Socioeconomically Advantaged Women with Young Children
Rothermel, Caitlin Phillips
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Introduction: Although motherhood is often associated with increased stress, anxiety, and depression, limited research exists on the prevalence and predictors of these conditions beyond the immediate postpartum period. Methods: This cross-sectional survey assessed the impact of work patterns, sociodemographic factors, and social support on stress, anxiety, and depression in U.S. mothers of children aged 6-48 months. Results: Respondents (N=244) were recruited via an advertisement in a national magazine. Mean respondent age was 35 years; most were married/partnered, Caucasian, and reported high educational levels and household income. A total of 11.4%, 3.7%, and 5.3% of respondents, respectively, reported severe stress, anxiety, or depression. There were no statistically significant associations between the work, social support, or demographic variables tested and anxiety and depression, or between work and social support variables and stress. Among the demographics examined, respondent age (older [≥41 years] and younger [≤30 years]; P<0.0001) was associated with heightened stress, as was a prior self-reported diagnosis of depression or anxiety (P=0.001). Conclusion: This study found that 1 in 9 mothers reported severe stress. Stress was higher in the oldest and youngest age groups and among women with a history of depression or anxiety.
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