Parents’ personality and maternal experiences in childcare as predictors of postpartum depression in couples in transition to parenthood
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Uniwersytet Gdański, Instytut Psychologii
Uniwersytet Warmińsko-Mazurski w Olsztynie, Katedra Psychologii Rozwoju i Edukacji
Gdański Uniwersytet Medyczny, Klinika Ginekologii i Położnictwa
Submission date: 2017-06-20
Final revision date: 2017-11-30
Acceptance date: 2017-12-08
Online publication date: 2020-10-31
Publication date: 2020-10-31
Corresponding author
Justyna Michałek-Kwiecień   

Department of Psychology of Development and Education, University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, ul. Prawochenskiego 13, 10-725 Olsztyn, Polska
Psychiatr Pol 2020;54(5):991–1005
Analysis of interrelationships between the five global personality dimensions of both parents and mothers’ experiences regarding feeding the baby/childcare, as well as determining their role as predictors of postpartum depression.

223 first-time expectant couples participated in the study (I stage), and 143 couples from this group were examined about five months after the childbirth (II stage). The following questionnaires were used:the NEO Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI), the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS), and the Mother and Baby Scale (MBAS).

EPDS scores were interrelated in couples. Both parents’ Neuroticism measured before the childbirth was associated with higher levels of self-assessed and partner’s postpartum depression. Mothers’Neuroticism negatively correlated with global confidence regarding childcare and the child’s positive alertness during feeding (which was also associated with a higher female Extraversion). Maternal global confidence in childcare negatively correlated with postpartum depression in both partners. Perceived child’s alertness and mother’s global confidence significantly mediated the relationship between mothers’ Neuroticism (and their Extraversion in the case of child’s alertness), and theEPDS scorein women. Partners’ similarity in Neuroticism was associated with worse functioning of mothers (higher EPDS scores, lack of confidence), whereas similarity in Openness to experience negatively correlated with fathers’ EPDS score, and positively with mothers’ global confidence.

Complex associations between postpartum depression scores and personality dimensions of men and women, and mother’s experiences indicate the need to include fathers and couples in studies. Offering the possibility to meet with lactation consultants might be an essential element of support system for new parents.