From distress to flourishing

towards a strengths-based approach for young mothers

Melissa Johnstone*, Kate Mulherin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: The current study aims to better understand the predictors of flourishing, as well as the predictors of distress, among first-time Australian mothers in their teens and early 20s in the first year postpartum. Background: Past research has linked early motherhood with poor outcomes for mother and baby. However, other research has demonstrated that disadvantage often precedes early motherhood, rather than results from it, and there has been a consistent body of qualitative research highlighting positive outcomes for young mothers. In this paper, we investigate who is doing well amongst a sample of young mothers. Methods: Through quantitative analysis of survey data of 86 women aged 16–24 years who had transitioned to motherhood in the past 12 months, we investigate the predictors of flourishing, along with postnatal distress. Results: Our findings suggest that this sample of women was doing well, with relatively high scores on flourishing and low scores on distress. As expected, the two constructs were negatively correlated. Conclusion: Whilst self-esteem was a consistent predictor of both distress and flourishing, and acted as a mediating factor, this research also showed that there are unique and independent predictors for distress and flourishing, which can be used to inform tailored programs for young mothers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)166-183
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology
Volume38
Issue number2
Early online date4 Jul 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • early motherhood
  • postnatal depression
  • flourishing
  • teen mothers

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