Social support and maternal stress during pregnancy: a PATH model

Sara Shishehgar, Mahrokh Dolatian, Hamid Alavi Majd, Zohre Teimouri, Seyedeh Tahoora Alavi, Parivash Halvaei


Background: Lack of appropriate social support and resultant increased maternal stress during pregnancy contributes to negative pregnancy outcomes for both mothers and the future offspring.

Objective: The primary aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between social support and maternal stress during pregnancy.

Methods: This descriptive-correlative study was conducted on 210 pregnant women who met inclusion criteria and attended Shahryar Social Security Hospital from August to December 2012. Participants were recruited through a purposive convenient sampling. Questionnaires about socio-economic status, the Vaux Social Support Record and pregnancy-specific stress were completed by participants. SPSS-19 and Lisrel 8.8 were used for data and path analysis.

Results: There was a significant relationship between perceived social support and maternal stress (p < .05); however, support from family members and partners had the most affect. An emergent path model fitted (CF1 = 1, RMSEA = 0.00) and, accordingly, direct social support (t-value = 7.3) influenced maternal stress during pregnancy. But socio-economic status did not show significant impact.

Conclusions: Since social support is a measurable and multi-dimensional factor, health managers and policy makers ought to assess, recognize and apply specific support resources for pregnant women. Our data also support the idea that empowering family members and partners to support pregnant women by involving them in prenatal care programs is important to reduce maternal stress rate.

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International Journal of Healthcare  ISSN 2377-7338(Print)  ISSN 2377-7346(Online)

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