Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search

 


Good News On Samoan Maternal Mental Health

Good News On Samoan Maternal Mental Health

Samoan mothers have amongst the lowest rates of postnatal depression in the world. However, variation between Pacific Island groups is great and highlights the importance of considering the needs of particular groups. Understanding why Samoan mothers have such low rates, even when exposed to major risk factors, could be of great benefit to women worldwide.

These conclusions came from research presented today by Professor Max Abbott at the 3rd Biennial World Conference on Mental Health Promotion and Prevention of Mental Illness and Related Disorders held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Auckland.

Professor Max Abbott is AUT’s Pro-Vice Chancellor (North Shore) and Dean of the Faculty of Health. The findings are from the Pacific Islands Families First 2 Years of Life (PIF) Study, a longitudinal investigation of 1398 South Auckland Infants, based at AUT’s National Institute for Public Health and Mental Health Research. The PIF is co-directed by Associate Professor Janis Paterson and Dr Teuila Percival.

16.5% of mothers experienced postnatal depression six weeks following childbirth.

“While the overall mental health of Pacific Island mothers is similar to New Zealand mothers generally following childbirth,” said Professor Abbott, “this average figure masks large differences between groups”.

“The depression rate for Samoan mothers at 8% is very low indeed by international standards, with only two of hundreds of studies being this low. Most studies that use similar measures to our study obtained rates from 10% to 20%. Rates for other Pacific Island groups including European mothers of Pacific Island babies are high, ranging from 18% to 31%.”

“These findings underline how important it is to avoid over-generalisation along ethnic lines. In the case of postnatal depression Pacific Island mothers in South Auckland have amongst the lowest and highest prevalence rates in the world. It depends which group you are referring to.”

Professor Abbott said postnatal depression is a significant health issue globally. While widespread it is often undetected and untreated. It was once thought to be a ‘culture bound syndrome’ peculiar to urban Western societies but research has found it is universal and that depression during pregnancy is also commonplace.

Apart from having a major impact on mothers’ wellbeing and quality of life, recent international research has found that postnatal depression leads to disturbances in partner and mother-infant relationships and affects children’ long-term emotional and intellectual development.

In addition to being non-Samoan, a number of other factors had a strong relationship with postnatal depression. Risk factors include low Pacific acculturation, low family income, stress due to insufficient money for food, dissatisfaction with home/housing and transport problems. Having an unhappy relationship, being unhappy with pregnancy or the birth experience and baby’s sleep patterns were also important.

“Most of these risk factors point to positive things that can be done to prevent postnatal depression from developing. Having a strong sense of cultural identify; adequate income, housing and transportation; good relationships and support; positive pregnancy and birth experience are all important for good mental health. Investment in these areas will pay long-term dividends in terms of maternal and family wellbeing and the development of healthy, well-adjusted children.”

“There is much to be learned about why Samoan mothers do so well, even when exposed to high levels of adversity. There may be protective factors operating that could benefit other mothers.”

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Electronica: Restoring The World’s First Recorded Computer Music

University of Canterbury Distinguished Professor Jack Copeland and UC alumni and composer Jason Long have restored the earliest known recording of computer-generated music, created more than 65 years ago using programming techniques devised by Alan Turing. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: Almost Getting Away With Murder

The Black Widow by Lee-Anne Cartier: Lee-Anne Cartier is the sister of the Christchurch man found to have been murdered by his wife, Helen Milner, after an initial assumption by police that his death, in 2009, was suicide. More>>

Howard Davis: Triple Echo - The Malevich/Reinhardt/Hotere Nexus

Howard Davis: The current juxtaposition of works by Ralph Hotere and Ad Reinhardt at Te Papa perfectly exemplifies Jean Michel Massing's preoccupation with the transmigration of imagery in a remarkable triple echo effect... More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: Nō Tāu Manawa

Vaughan Rapatahana responds to Fale Aitu | Spirit House by Tusiata Avi: "fa’afetai Tusiata, fa’afetai, / you’ve swerved & served us a masterclass corpus / through graft / of tears & fears..." More>>

9 Golds - 21 Medals: NZ Team Celebrates As Rio 2016 Paralympic Games Close

The entire New Zealand Paralympic Team, led by kiwi sprinter and double gold medallist Liam Malone as flag bearer, are on the bus to the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro for the Closing Ceremony of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. There, they will celebrate the fantastic successes of the past 10 days. More>>

ALSO:

New Zealand Improv Festival: The Festival Of Moments To Return To The Capital

The eighth incarnation of the New Zealand Improv Festival comes to BATS Theatre this 4-8 October , with a stellar line-up of spontaneous theatre and instant comedy performed and directed by top improvisors from around New Zealand and the world. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Education
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news