Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 19

Mothers Related Abstracts

19 Household Food Insecurity, Maternal Mental Health and Self-Efficacy

Authors: Nahid Salarkia, Nasrin Omidvar, Erfan Ghassemi, Vahideh Arab-Salari, Tirang Reza Neyestani


Background: Household food insecurity has an adverse impact on the maternal mental health. This study was carried out to assess the relationship between household food insecurity, maternal depression and mother’s self-efficacy in Varamin, Iran, in 2014. Methods: In this cross-sectional study 423 mothers with children under 2 years old, with mean age 28.1±5.2 year; weight 66.3±13.4 kg; height 160.3± 5.7 cm and BMI 25.7±4.8 kg/m2 were selected by a multistage random sampling scheme. The instruments were: Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-III) and mother’s self-efficacy questionnaire. Data was analyzed using χ2 test, ANOVA and Pearson correlation. Results: Mildly, moderately and severely food insecure households were 39.5, 9.7 and 3.1%, respectively. Mild, moderate and sever depression was: 18.7, 13.9 and 5.7%. Mean score of depression in moderate and severe food insecure (8.6±5.3) was more than mild food insecure (4.8±4.7) and food secure (3.1±3.6) mothers. Frequency of very good, good and low mother’s self-efficacy were 62.8, 36.5, and 0.7%, respectively. Very good mother’s self-efficacy in food secure mothers (33.4%) was more than mild (25.4%) and moderate-sever food insecure groups (4%). There was a negative significant association between household food insecurity and mother’s self-efficacy (r= -0.297, p<0.01), and between mother’s depression and self-efficacy (r= -0.309, p=0.001). Conclusion: Empowerment of mothers with educational programs and social support can decrease mothers’ depression and increase self-efficacy that lead to improve maternal practices in food insecure households.

Keywords: Self-efficacy, Mothers, Iran, Household food insecurity, physiological characteristics

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18 Demographics Are Not Enough! Targeting and Segmentation of Anti-Obesity Campaigns in Mexico

Authors: Dagmara Wrzecionkowska


Mass media campaigns against obesity are often designed to impact large audiences. This usually means that their audience is defined based on general demographic characteristics like age, gender, occupation etc., not taking into account psychographics like behavior, motivations, wants, etc. Using psychographics, as the base for the audience segmentation, is a common practice in case of successful campaigns, as it allows developing more relevant messages. It also serves a purpose of identifying key segments, those that generate the best return on investment. For a health campaign, that would be segments that have the best chance of being converted into healthy lifestyle at the lowest cost. This paper presents the limitations of the demographic targeting, based on the findings from the reception study of IMSS anti-obesity TV commercials and proposes mothers as the first level of segmentation, in the process of identifying the key segment for these campaigns.

Keywords: Segmentation, Mothers, anti-obesity campaigns, targeting

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17 Police Mothers at Home: Police Work and Danger-Protection Parenting Practices

Authors: Tricia Agocs, Debra Langan, Carrie B. Sanders


Studies of the challenges faced by women in policing have paid little attention to the specific experiences of Policewomen who are mothers. Guided by critical theorizing on the gendered nature of the police culture and domestic labor, 16 police officer mothers in Ontario, Canada, were interviewed. Our qualitative analyses explore their experiences of the “lion’s share” of domestic labor; the organizational, cultural, and operational features of policing; and the challenges of child care, and examine how these combine to foster particular stresses. In contrast to intensive mothering approaches that rely on the advice of external experts, our participants work to protect children by carefully constructing stories and asking questions that are based on their own on-the-job experiences with dangerous and/or abhorrent situations. As such, they engage in danger-protection parenting practices to prevent their children from becoming victims or offenders. Our research extends the theorizing on intensive/extensive mothering practices, builds on the scholarship on policing, and adds to the literature on women in nonstandard occupations. This sociological analysis of police mothers’ experiences and practices underscores the importance of understanding and working to change the social contexts, at work and at home, that compromise the well-being of police mothers and other emergency-response workers.

Keywords: Qualitative Research, Parenting, Mothers, policewomen, danger

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16 Experienced Chronic Sorrow in Mothers of Children with Cancer: A Phenomenological Study

Authors: Nikfarid Lida, Maryam Rassouli, Leili Borimnejad, Hamid Alavi Majd


Purpose: Chronic sorrow is experienced by mothers of children with cancer. It is a multidimensional concept and is experienced by mothers in different ways depends on their various contexts. Little is known about the concept of chronic sorrow in mothers of children with cancer living in Iran. This study aimed to clarify the concept and explain lived experiences of chronic sorrow in Iranian mothers of children with cancer. Methods: In this hermeneutic phenomenological study, 8 mothers of children with cancer participated in semi structured in-depth interviews about their experiences of chronic sorrow. Interviews continued until data saturation was reached. All interviews were recorded, transcribed, analyzed, and interpreted using 7 steps of the Dickelman et al’s phenomenological approach. Results: Three main themes emerged from mothers’ experiences of chronic sorrow related to child’s cancer. These main themes were ‘climbing up shaky rocks,’ ‘fear and hope,’ and ‘continuous role changing.’ Each of these themes consisted of several subthemes. Conclusion: There are similarities in experiencing chronic sorrow by mothers of children with chronic diseases in different societies. However some experiences are unique in Iranian mothers of children with cancer.

Keywords: Cancer, Children, phenomenology, Mothers, Iran

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15 Of Love and Isolation: Narratives of Siblings of Children with Cerebral Palsy in Sri Lanka

Authors: Shyamani Hettiarachchi


Aim: Siblings of children with cerebral palsy are often in the periphery of discussions; their views not always taken into account. The aim of this study was to uncover the narratives of young siblings of children with cerebral palsy in Sri Lanka. Methods: Semi-structured interviews and artwork were gathered from 10 children who have siblings diagnosed with cerebral palsy. The data was analyzed using the key principles of Framework Analysis to determine the key themes within the narratives. Results: The key themes to emerge were complex and nuanced. These included themes of love and feeling of protectiveness; jealousy and uncertainly; guilt and hope. Conclusions: The results highlight the need to take document the views of siblings who are often on the margins of the family and of family decisions and discussions. It also supports the need to offer safe spaces and opportunities for siblings of children with disabilities to express their feelings and to receive support where required.

Keywords: Disability, Women, Narratives, Mothers, grandmothers

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14 Pregnant Women and Mothers in Prison, Mother and Baby Units and Mental Health

Authors: Rachel Dolan


Background: Over two thirds of women in prison in England are mothers, and estimates suggest between 100 and 200 women per year give birth during imprisonment. There are currently six mother and baby units (MBUs) in prisons in England which admit women and babies up to the age of 18 months. Although there are only 65 places available, and despite positive impacts, they are rarely full. Mental illness may influence the number of admissions, as may interpretation of admission criteria. They are the only current alternative to separation for imprisoned mothers and their babies. Aims: To identify the factors that affect the decision to apply for/be offered a place in a prison MBU; to measure the impact of a placement upon maternal mental health and wellbeing; To measure the Initial outcomes for mother and child. Methods: A mixed methods approach - 100 pregnant women in English prisons are currently being recruited from prisons in England. Quantitative measures will establish the prevalence of mental disorder, personality disorder, substance misuse and quality of life. Qualitative interviews will document the experiences of pregnancy and motherhood in prison. Results: Preliminary quantitative findings suggest the most prevalent mental disorders are anxiety and depression and approximately half the participants meet the criteria for one or more personality disorders. The majority of participants to date have been offered a place in a prison MBU, and those in a prison with an MBU prior to applying are more likely to be admitted. Those with a previous history of childcare issues, who are known to social services are less likely to be offered a place. Qualitative findings suggest that many women are often hungry and uncomfortable during pregnancy, many have feelings of guilt about having a child in prison and that feelings of anxiety and worry are exacerbated by lack of information.

Keywords: Mental Health, Mothers, prison, mother and baby units

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13 Investigating Problems and Social Support for Mothers of Poor Households

Authors: Niken Hartati


This study provides a description of the problem and sources of social support that given to 90 mothers from poor households. Data were collected using structured interviews with the three main questions: 1) what kind of problem in mothers daily life, 2) to whom mothers ask for help to overcome it and 3) the form of the assistances that provided. Furthermore, the data were analyzed using content analysis techniques were then coded and categorized. The results of the study illustrate the problems experienced by mothers of poor households in the form of: subsistence (37%), child care (27%), management of money and time (20%), housework (5%), bad place of living (5%), the main breadwinner (3%), and extra costs (3%). While the sources of social support that obtained by mothers were; neighbors (10%), extended family (8%), children (8%), husband (7%), parents (7%), and siblings (5%). Unfortunately, more mothers who admitted not getting any social support when having problems (55%). The form of social support that given to mother from poor household were: instrumental support (91%), emotional support (5%) and informational support (2%). Implications for further intervention also discussed in this study.

Keywords: Social Support, Mothers, household problems, poor households

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12 Stress among Mothers of Children with Cerebral Palsy

Authors: Priyanka Tiwari, Uma Devi Ranjit, Ritesh Thapa


Background and Significance: Cerebral Palsy (CP) influences not only the child's everyday functioning but also the functioning of whole family. Application of study findings can be used in clinical or community setting to screen the parents of children with cerebral palsy in order to identify the compromised domain of stress which in turn will help to improve the interaction between parent and child with disability and thus ultimately affect the progress that a child makes in his or her therapeutic or educational programs. Objective: The objective of the study was to assess the level of stress in mothers of children with CP by adopting mixed method design. Methodology: Cross-sectional descriptive design was adopted in the quantitative design where Parental Stress Scale (PSS) was utilized to collect data from a convenient sample of 40 mothers of children with CP who were under regular follow-up by home visitor of Self-help Group for Cerebral Palsy while embedded qualitative design was used to explore the stress of mothers of CP affected children. From the parent population of quantitative sample 4 mothers were chosen for in-depth exploration, regarding their stress by means of case study method. Descriptive statistics like frequency, percentage, mean, median, standard deviation, correlation and inferential statistics like Mann-Whitney U test and Kruskal-Wallis H test were used to describe and assess relationship between variables. Findings: The mean stress experienced by mothers of children with cerebral palsy was 53.62±9.53 with 15% percent of the mothers experiencing severe stress. There was significant association between age group of mother and total stress score and negative themes of stress. Similarly, signification association was found between educational status of the mother and positive themes of stress which was convergent with the qualitative finding as well, where literate mothers had more positive view of their child's disability which could be attributed to their educational level as education provides us with a broad perspective to look at a situation. Conclusions: Still one-sixth of the mothers experienced severe stress so if we want to ensure the well-being of the children affected by cerebral palsy, then parents caring for them need to be looked after as well.

Keywords: stress, Cerebral Palsy, Mothers, mixed method

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11 Mothers' Perspective on Services for Children with Autism in Indonesia

Authors: Wike Wike


The aim of this study is to investigate the experience of mothers of autistic children in Indonesia in raising the children and obtaining services for them through the adequate of information. The study seeks to contribute to the knowledge emerging from the women as a mother of children with autism on health and disability area. There is silence in the Indonesian literature on this perspective, especially about the parents and/or mothers of autistic children that is the focus of this analysis. Therefore, in order to capture the points of view emerging from the mothers, a qualitative study design has been applied. The main data for this qualitative study was collected from interviews (semi-structured interview and focus group discussion) with the mothers of children with autism who are member of parenting group in autistic schools and rehabilitation centers in one of Indonesian regional cities. This study reveals that the mothers’ experience in raising a child who is diagnosed with autism is rooted in limited knowledge on autism, limited knowledge on availability of services and limited knowledge on service options. Compounding this is limited availability and accessibility of the services that are important to their child's development. An important contribution of this study is to show how tapping into the experience of mothers can provide much needed information to policy making and service planners and implementers that can improve the services for children with autism and their families.

Keywords: Services, Mothers, children with autism, disability services and policy

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10 Parenting Practices, Challenges and Prospectus of Working Mothers in Arsi University: Oromia Regional State, Ethiopia

Authors: Endalew Fufa Kufi


Every married person aspires to be a parent regardless of the situation in which s/he lives. Such aspiration meets with reality when the destined parent is able to give adequate supports and services to his/her children, whether the latter are got by birth or through adoption. The adequacy of services parents provide their children is both enriched and tempted by the work on which they involve. On the one hand, parents need to work and earn a living in order to support their family. On the other hand, they must spend most of their time outside home to do the work, which shortens the time and might they spare to care for their children. Where the sufficiency of services parents owe their children could be ascertained by in terms of life skills, physical care and related provisions, the role of working fathers and mothers in providing such supports could be diverse across cultures and work traditions. Hence, this research deals with the investigation of working mothers’ parental practices, challenges they face in providing parental services and the implication for the future progress of the parents and their children. Target of the study will be Arsi University in Oromia Regional State of Ethiopia. Descriptive survey design in holding the research, and data for the research will be collected in the form of experiential self-report from 150 working mothers selected from the entire working women population of Colleges of Agriculture and Environmental Studies and College of Health Sciences through stratified random-sampling. Instruments of data collection will be closed and open-ended questionnaire. Complementary data will also be collected from purposively selected samples through semi-structured interview. Data for the research will be collected through questionnaire first and then through interview. Data analysis will also follow the same procedure. The collected data will systematically be organized and statistically and thematically analyzed in order to come up with indicative findings. The overarching thesis is that, working mothers in the study area bear a lot of responsibilities both at home and at work place which leave them very little time for parenting services. Unless due attention is given to the way they can spare time for their children, they are more likely to be tense between work-life and family care services, which tempt them in different directions.

Keywords: Challenges, Practices, Mothers, University, working

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9 Influence of Mothers’ Knowledge, Attitude and Behavior on Diet and Physical Activity of Their Pre-School Children: A Cross-Sectional Study from a Semi-Urban Area of Nepal

Authors: Natalia Oli, Abhinav Vaidya, Katja Pahkala, Gabriele Eiben, Alexandra Krettek


The nutritional transition towards a high fat and energy dense diet, decreasing physical activity level, and poor cardiovascular health knowledge contributes to a rising burden of cardiovascular diseases in Nepal. Dietary and physical activity behaviors are formed early in life and influenced by family, particularly by mothers in the social context of Nepal. The purpose of this study was to explore knowledge, attitude and behavior of mothers regarding diet and physical activity of their pre-school children. Cross-sectional study was conducted in the semi-urban area of Duwakot and Jhaukhel communities near the capital Kathmandu. Between August and November 2014, nine trained enumerators interviewed all mothers having children aged 2 to 7 years in their homes. Questionnaire contained information about mothers’ socio-demographic characteristics; their knowledge, attitude, and behavior regarding diet and physical activity as well as their children’s diet and physical activity. Knowledge, attitude and behavior responses were scored. SPSS version 22.0 was used for data analyses. Out of the 1,052 eligible mothers, 962 consented to participate in the study. The mean age was 28.9 ± 4.5 years. The majority of them (73%) were housewives. Mothers with higher education and income had higher knowledge, attitude, and behavior scores (All p < 0.001) whereas housewives and farmers had low knowledge score (p < 0.001). They, along with laborers, also exhibited lower attitude (p<0.001) and behavior scores (p < 0.001). Children’s diet score increased with mothers’ level of education (p <0.001) and income (p=0.041). Their physical activity score, however, declined with increasing level of their mothers’ education (p < 0.001) and income (p < 0.001). Children’s overall behavior score correlated poorly with mothers’ knowledge (r = 0.009, p=0.003), attitude (r =0.012, p=0.001), and behavior (r = 0.007, p= 0.008). Such poor correlation can be due to existence of the barriers among mothers. Mothers reported such barriers as expensive healthy food, difficulty to give up favorite food, taste preference of others family members and lack of knowledge on healthy food. Barriers for physical activity were lack of leisure time, lack of parks and playgrounds, being busy by caring for children and old people, feeling lazy and embarrassed in front of others. Additionally, among the facilitators for healthy lifestyle, mentioned by mothers, were better information, family eating healthy food and supporting physical activity, advice of medical personnel regarding healthy lifestyle and own ill health. The study demonstrated poor correlation of mothers’ knowledge and attitude with children’s behavior regarding diet and physical activity. Hence improving mothers’ knowledge or attitude may not be enough to improve dietary and physical activity habits of their children. Barriers and facilitators that affect mothers’ practices towards their children should also be addressed due to future intervention.

Keywords: Physical Activity, Behavior, Knowledge, diet, Mothers, attitude

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8 A Qualitative Exploration of How Brazilian Immigrant Mothers Living in the United States Obtain Information about Physical Activity and Screen-Viewing for Their Young Children

Authors: Ana Cristina Lindsay, Mary L. Greaney


Background: Racial/ethnic minority children of low-income immigrant families remain at increased risk of obesity. Consistent with high rates of childhood obesity among racial/ethnic minority children are high rates of physical inactivity and increased levels of sedentary behaviors (e.g., TV and other screen viewing). Brazilians comprise a fast-growing immigrant population group in the US, yet little research has focused on the health issues affecting Brazilian immigrant children. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore how Brazilian-born immigrant mothers living in the United States obtain information about physical activity and screen-time for their young children. Methods: Qualitative research including focus groups with Brazilian immigrant mothers of preschool-age children living in the U.S. Results: Results revealed that Brazilian immigrant mothers obtain information on young children’s physical activity and screen-time from a variety of sources including interpersonal communication, television and magazines, government health care programs (WIC program) and professionals (e.g., nurses and pediatricians). A noteworthy finding is the significant role of foreign information sources (Brazilian TV shows and magazines) on mothers’ access to information about these early behaviors. Future research is needed to quantify and better understanding Brazilian parents’ access to accurate and sound information related to young children’s physical activity and screen-viewing behaviors. Conclusions: To our knowledge, no existing research has examined how Brazilian immigrant mothers living in the United States obtain information about these behaviors. This information is crucial for the design of culturally appropriate early childhood obesity prevention interventions tailored to the specific needs of this ethnic group.

Keywords: Physical Activity, Information, Mothers, United States, scree-time, immigrant, Brazilian

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7 Relationship between the Level of Perceived Self-Efficacy of Children with Learning Disability and Their Mother’s Perception about the Efficacy of Their Child, and Children’s Academic Achievement

Authors: Payal Maheshwari, Maheaswari Brindavan


The present study aimed at studying the level of perceived self-efficacy of children with learning disability and their mother’s perception about the efficacy of the child and the relationship between the two. The study further aimed at finding out the relationship between the level of perceived self-efficacy of children with learning disability and their academic achievement and their mother’s perception about the Efficacy of the child and child’s Academic Achievement. The sample comprised of 80 respondents (40 children with learning disability and their mothers). Children with learning disability as their primary condition, belonging to middle or upper middle class, living with both the parents, residing in Mumbai and their mothers were selected. Purposive or judgmental and snowball sampling technique was used to select the sample for the present study. Proformas in the form of questionnaires were used to obtain the background information of the children with learning disability and their mother’s. A self-constructed Mother’s Perceived Efficacy of their Child Assessment Scale was used to measure mothers perceived level of efficacy of their child with learning disability. Self-constructed Child’s Perceived Self-Efficacy Assessment Scale was used to measure the level of child’s perceived self-efficacy. Academic scores of the child were collected from the child’s parents or teachers and were converted into percentage. The data were analyzed quantitatively using frequencies, mean and standard deviation. Correlations were computed to ascertain the relationships between the different variables. The findings revealed that majority of the mother’s perceived efficacy about their child with learning disability was above average as well as majority of the children with learning disability also perceived themselves as having above average level of self-efficacy. Further in the domains of self-regulated learning and emotional self-efficacy majority of the mothers perceived their child as having average or below average efficacy, 50% of the children also perceived their self-efficacy in the two domains at average or below average level. A significant (r=.322, p < .05) weak correlation (Spearman’s rho) was found between mother’s perceived efficacy about their child, and child’s perceived self-efficacy and a significant (r=.377, p < .01) weak correlation (Pearson Correlation) was also found between mother’s perceived efficacy about their child and child’s academic achievement. Significant weak positive correlation was found between child’s perceived self-efficacy and academic achievement (r=.332, p < .05). Based on the findings, the study discussed the need for intervention program for children in non-academic skills like self-regulation and emotional competence.

Keywords: Children, Academic Achievement, Learning disability, Mothers, perceived self efficacy

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6 The Need for Sustaining Hope during Communication of Unfavourable News in the Care of Children with Palliative Care Needs: The Experience of Mothers and Health Professionals in Jordan

Authors: Maha Atout, Pippa Hemingway, Jane Seymour


A preliminary systematic review shows that health professionals experience a tension when communicating with the parents and family members of children with life-threatening and life-limiting conditions. On the one hand, they want to promote open and honest communication, while on the other, they are apprehensive about fostering an unrealistic sense of hope. Defining the boundaries between information that might offer reasonable hope versus that which results in false reassurance is challenging. Some healthcare providers worry that instilling a false sense of hope could motivate parents to seek continued aggressive treatment for their child, which in turn might cause the patient further unnecessary suffering. To date, there has been a lack of research in the Middle East regarding how healthcare providers do or should communicate bad news; in particular, the issue of hope in the field of paediatric palliative care has not been researched thoroughly. This study aims to explore, from the perspective of patients’ mothers, physicians, and nurses, the experience of communicating and receiving bad news in the care of children with palliative care needs. Data were collected using a collective qualitative case study approach across three paediatric units in a Jordanian hospital. Two data collection methods were employed: participant observation and semi-structured interviews. The overall number of cases was 15, with a total of 56 interviews with mothers (n=24), physicians (n=12), and nurses (n=20) completed, as well as 197 observational hours logged. The findings demonstrate that mothers wanted their doctors to provide them with hopeful information about the future progression of their child’s illness. Although some mothers asked their doctors to provide them with honest information regarding the condition of their child, they still considered a sense of hope to be essential for coping with caring for their child. According to mothers, hope was critical to treatment as it helped them to stay committed to the treatment and protected them to some extent from the extreme emotional suffering that would occur if they lost hope. The health professionals agreed with the mothers on the importance of hope, so long as it was congruent with the stage and severity of each patient’s disease. The findings of this study conclude that while parents typically insist on knowing all relevant information when their child is diagnosed with a severe illness, they considered hope to be an essential part of life, and they found it very difficult to handle suffering without any glimmer of it. This study finds that using negative terms has extremely adverse effects on the parents’ emotions. Hence, although the mothers asked the doctors to be as honest as they could, they still wanted the physicians to provide them with a positive message by communicating this information in a sensitive manner including hope.

Keywords: Communication, Information, palliative care, Children, Mothers, hope, health professionals

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5 Leaving to Make a Living: Differences on the Subjective Well-Being of Children in Transnational Families and in Families Living Together

Authors: Rachelle Angeli Maranon


This research explored the relationships of a child’s family condition, sex and subjective well-being (SWB) to gain some understanding of the experiences of both transnational and non-transnational families. A descriptive-correlational design was used to study the variables. Participants included 52 male and female children from Iloilo and Kabankalan cities, representing the family conditions in this study. Data were gathered using a semi-structured interview guide. Responses were analyzed using Mann-Whitney U Test. The results showed that the SWB of non-transnational children was significantly higher compared to their transnational counterparts (U = 134, p = .00). Also, analysis between females and males indicated a significant difference only on some aspects (U = 318, p = .71). Some recommendations were suggested to better understand the plight of the left-behind children.

Keywords: Mothers, subjective well-being, left-behind children, transnational families

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4 Quality of Life among Mothers of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder in Saudi Arabia

Authors: Asma Alsaleh, Kara Makara


Autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental condition characterized by difficulties with communication and interaction. Besides presenting challenges for the ASD individual, the condition can entail negative outcomes for those who care for them, most often mothers. While this issue has been studied substantially in Western society, less is known about how mothers in the Arab world are affected by raising an ASD child. This study sought to gain insights into this area by assessing quality of life and stress in mothers with (n = 25) and without (n = 25) ASD children in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) by using, respectively, the World Health Organization Quality of Life Assessment-BREF (WHOQOL-BREF) and the Parenting Stress Index-Short Form (PSI-SF). Data pertaining to income and education were also attained to investigate how socioeconomic factors interact with the above-mentioned variables. The analysis revealed that total stress scores and scores on the individual subscales of the PSI-SF were significantly higher for the mothers with an ASD child compared to those without an ASD child, though the opposite was true of quality of life scores. Moreover, increased income was associated with increased quality of life and decreased stress. While there were not main effects of education, there were interactions between education, whether children were ASD or non-ASD, and the outcome variables. These results suggest that mothers of ASD children in an Arab culture are at increased risk of negative outcomes relative to mothers of typically developing children, and, therefore, this study may act as a foundation for the delivery of interventions to assist mothers in this position.

Keywords: Education, autism, Quality of Life, stress, Income, Mothers

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3 Risk and Protective Factors for the Health of Primary Care-Givers of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders or Intellectual Disability: A Narrative Review and Discussion

Authors: Jenny Fairthorne, Yuka Mori, Helen Leonard


Background: Primary care-givers of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or intellectual disability (ID) have poorer health and quality of life (QoL) than primary care-givers (hereafter referred to as just care-givers) of typically developing children. We aimed to review original research which described factors impacting the health of care-givers of children with ASD or ID and to discuss how these factors might influence care-giver health. Methods: We searched Web of Knowledge, Medline, Scopus and Google Scholar using selections of words from each of three groups. The first comprised terms associated with ASD and ID and included autism, pervasive development disorder, intellectual disability, mental retardation, disability, disabled, Down and Asperger. The second included terms related to health such as depression, physical, mental, psychiatric, psychological and well-being. The third was terms related to care-givers such as mother, parent and care-giver. We included an original paper in our review if it was published between 1st January 1990 and 31st December, 2016, described original research in a peer-reviewed journal and was written in English. Additional criteria were that the research used a study population of 15 persons or more; described a risk or protective factor for the health of care-givers of a child with ASD, ID or a sub-type (such as ASD with ID or Down syndrome). Using previous research, we developed a simple and objective five-level tool to assess the strength of evidence provided by the reviewed papers. Results: We retained 33 papers. Factors impacting primary care-giver health included child behaviour, level of support, socio-economic status (SES) and diagnostic issues. Challenging child behaviour, the most commonly identified risk factor for poorer care-giver health and QoL was reported in ten of the studies. A higher level of support was associated with improved care-giver health and QoL. For example, substantial evidence indicated that family support reduced care-giver burden in families with a child with ASD and that family and neighbourhood support was associated with improved care-giver mental health. Higher socio-economic status (SES) was a protective factor for care-giver health and particularly maternal health. Diagnostic uncertainty and an unclear prognosis are factors which can cause the greatest concern to care-givers of children with ASD and those for whom a cause of their child’s ID has not been identified. We explain how each of these factors might impact caregiver health and how they might act differentially in care-givers of children with different types of ASD or ID (such as Down syndrome and ASD without ID). Conclusion: Care-givers of children with ASD may be more likely to experience many risk factors and less likely to experience the protective factors we identified for poorer mental health. Interventions to reduce risk factors and increase protective factors could pave the way for improved care-giver health. For example, workshops to train care-givers to better manage challenging child behaviours and earlier diagnosis of ASD (and particularly ASD without ID) would seem likely to improve care-giver well-being. Similarly, helping to expand support networks might reduce care-giver burden and stress leading to improved health.

Keywords: Health, autism, Intellectual Disability, Mothers, review, caregivers

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2 First 1000 Days of Life: Mothers' Economic Hardship of Caring for Their Babies

Authors: Athena Pedro, Laura Bradfield, Mike Dare, Zandile Bantwana, Ashley Nayman


The purpose of the research was to explore mother’s unique experience and knowledge of mothering in the first 1000 day of their child’s life, from birth to age 2. The study used a qualitative research methodology with an exploratory research design. A sample of 12 mothers was used, comprising different racial backgrounds from low income areas in the Western Cape. The data was collected by means of semi-structured, in-depth interviews, which were transcribed verbatim, analysed using Braun’s and Clark’s (2006) six phases of thematic analysis. Some of the findings revealed that the mothers who participated in the study were consistently unable to feed their children and themselves due to profound and extreme situations of poverty, stress, and lack of infrastructural support. These mothers residing in low-income communities are not adequately supported both financially and socially and are often unable to meet the needs of their infants within the first 1000 days. Given the consequential nature of this period, it is imperative that mothers are able to access such support. Single mothers especially are in need of social and financial support. Appropriate interventions are required to assist mothers generally but more specifically, mothers who have children within the first 1000 days of life. By implementing appropriate interventions to address these needs, it will assist mothers to ensure optimal developmental growth of their children. This will positively impact the developmental trajectory of children in South Africa.

Keywords: Mothers, Caring, economic hardship, first one thousand days

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1 Exploring Mothers' Knowledge and Experiences of Attachment in the First 1000 Days of Their Child's Life

Authors: Athena Pedro, Zandile Batweni, Laura Bradfield, Michael Dare, Ashley Nyman


The rapid growth and development of an infant in the first 1000 days of life means that this time period provides the greatest opportunity for a positive developmental impact on a child’s life socially, emotionally, cognitively and physically. Current research is being focused on children in the first 1000 days, but there is a lack of research and understanding of mothers and their experiences during this crucial time period. Thus, it is imperative that more research is done to help better understand the experiences of mothers during the first 1000 days of their child’s life, as well as gain more insight into mothers’ knowledge regarding this time period. The first 1000 days of life, from conception to two years, is a critical period, and the child’s attachment to his or her mother or primary caregiver during this period is crucial for a multitude of future outcomes. The aim of this study was to explore mothers’ understanding and experience of the first 1000 days of their child’s life, specifically looking at attachment in the context of Bowlby and Ainsworths’ attachment theory. Using a qualitative methodological framework, data were collected through semi-structured individual interviews with 12 first-time mothers from low-income communities in Cape Town. Thematic analysis of the data revealed that mothers articulated the importance of attachment within the first 1000 days of life and shared experiences of how they bond and form attachment with their babies. Furthermore, these mothers expressed their belief in the long-term effects of early attachment of responsive positive parenting as well as the lasting effects of poor attachment and non-responsive parenting. This study has implications for new mothers and healthcare staff working with mothers of new-born babies, as well as for future contextual research. By gaining insight into the mothers’ experiences, policies and intervention efforts can be formulated in order to assist mothers during this time, which ultimately promote the healthy development of the nation’s children and future adult generation. If researchers are also able to understand the extent of mothers’ general knowledge regarding the first 1000 days and attachment, then there will be a better understanding of where there may be gaps in knowledge and thus, recommendations for effective and relevant intervention efforts may be provided. These interventions may increase knowledge and awareness of new mothers and health care workers at clinics and other service providers, creating a high impact on positive outcome. Thus, improving the developmental trajectory for many young babies allows them the opportunity to pursue optimal development by reaching their full potential.

Keywords: Experience, Knowledge, attachment, Mothers, first 1000 days

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