Dimensions of post-partum adaptation: Comparisons of multiparas 3 days and 6 weeks after delivery

Regina P. Lederman, Edward Lederman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Assessment of the response of multiparas on 7 scales measuring dimensions of maternal adaptation 3 days and 6 weeks post partum was obtained from interview ratings (n == 65) and the Post-partum Self-Evaluation Questionnaire (n == 54). The 7 parallel interview and questionnaire scales were on maternal perceptions of: (1) relationship with husband, (2) father's participation in infant care, (3) support from family, friends, and others, (4) gratification from labor and delivery, (5) satisfaction with life circumstances, (6) confidence in motherhood role/tasks, and (7) satisfaction with infant/infant care. Additional assessments obtained through interviews on: (8) responsiveness to infant cues, (9) discrepancy between anticipated and actual maternal responsibilities, (10) difficulty with daily routines, and (11) physical discomfort, aided in the prediction and interpretation of factors impacting on post-partum adaptation. The subjects were normal, married multiparas, 20-38 years old; all but one delivered vaginally. Questionnaire scale reliabilities, measured by Cronbach's alpha, ranged from 0.77 to 0.93 at 3 days, and from 0.66 to 0.95 at 6 weeks. The repeated measures showed an increase in maternal confidence at 6 weeks, but greater dissatisfaction with the marital relationship, infant care, the husband's participation in infant care and support from others. The correlational patterns among the scales suggested 3 clusters of interrelated dimensions: 'husband,' 'infant,' and 'maternal coping' clusters, which helped explicate major factors of maternal adaptation. Patterns of correlation in the 'husband' cluster showed that the relationship with the husband was very highly related to his participation in child care and that he was a principal source of maternal support. The 'husband' cluster was moderately correlated with the 'maternal coping' variables, indicating the significance of the husband's role in maternal adaptation. The 'infant' cluster variables were highly interrelated, minimally related to the 'husband' cluster and most related to the 'maternal coping' variables, indicating the significance of maternal expectations, management difficulty, and physical discomfort (fatigue) in the mother's satisfaction with and care of the infant. Repeated measures of the questionnaire scales showed high correlations, indicating stability of the measures and the reliability of early measurement. Low interset relationships for the interview ratings between Responsiveness to Infant Cues and the 'maternal coping' variables suggested areas of rapid change where education and counseling could have an impact. Recommendations for assessment, education, and counseling are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-203
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1987
Externally publishedYes


  • Adaptation to parenthood
  • Post-Partum Self-Evaluation Questionnaire

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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