Recent Adverse Events Experienced and Mothers' Psychological Distress

Lay Summary 

Experiencing adverse events can play a significant negative role in an individual's mental health. There is very little research conducted on the impact that adverse events have on the mental health of mothers living in Newfoundland and Labrador. This study aims to identify adverse events that mothers living in Newfoundland and Labrador have experienced within the last 12 months and how this may impact their mental health. This study also identifies whether mothers' parental sense of competence and satisfaction with social support positively affects their mental health. Finally, this study examines whether living in an urban or rural area plays a role in mental health.

A survey titled "NL Survey on Motherhood" was distributed to mothers across Newfoundland and Labrador. This survey asked a broad range of questions regarding mothers' living experiences, including questions pertaining to personal, educational, financial, relational, and health-related issues. The current study focused on mothers who answered demographic questions, the adverse events questionnaire, the Parental Sense of Competence scale, and the Outcome Questionnaire-45 (OQ-45), a mental health assessment tool. A series of point biserial correlations were conducted demonstrating that experiencing adverse events, such as financial stress, interpersonal relationship problems, and vicitimization negatively correlates with maternal mental health. A multiple hierarchical regression showed that financial stress and interpersonal relationship problems were significant predictive factors for determining lower maternal mental health, and parental sense of competence and satisfaction with social support were strong predictive factors for positive maternal mental health. Finally, living in an urban versus rural area did not play a role in determining maternal mental health outcomes in our sample.

The results of this study identified a link between Newfoundland and Labrador mothers' mental health and their experience of recent negative life events, and highlighted the protective factor played by higher reported levels of parental sense of competence and satisfaction with social support. This study sheds light on the relatively little understanding we have of the predictors and facilitators of Newfoundland and Labrador mothers' mental health.

SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholarship
Newfoundland and Labrador
Mental Health
Start date 
1 Jan 2017
End date 
1 Oct 2017