Self-structure and postpartum dejection in first-time mothers

J Psychol. 2005 Sep;139(5):426-38. doi: 10.3200/JRLP.139.5.426-438.


Twenty-nine first-time mothers completed the Beck Depression Inventory (A. T. Beck, C. H. Ward, M. Mendelson, J. Mock, & J. Erbaugh, 1961) at Time 1 (3rd trimester) and at Time 2 (3-6 months after delivery). At Time 1, women described each of 20 self-aspects by repeatedly selecting from a list of 36 traits; they also reported the size of their social support network in a structured interview. At Time 2, the new mothers completed a short measure of mother role stress and described postpartum difficulties to an interviewer. The authors used HIerarchical CLASses (HICLAS; P. De Boeck & S. Rosenberg, 1988) to idiographically model each woman's self-descriptive data and to identify the class that contained each woman's most superordinate (cardinal) traits, which were then coded either as agentic or social-emotional. Postpartum difficulty predicted Time 2 dejection, but mother role stress and social network size did not. However, the content of the most superordinate trait class moderated the latter two effects. New mothers coded as agentic were more dejected than were new mothers coded as social-emotional when there was high mother role stress and when there was a large social support network.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Depression, Postpartum / psychology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gender Identity
  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Parity*
  • Personality Assessment
  • Personality Inventory
  • Pregnancy
  • Self Efficacy*
  • Self-Assessment*
  • Social Support*