Prematurity, ethnicity and personality: risk for postpartum emotional distress among Bedouin-Arab and Jewish women Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Background: Mothers of preterm infants are at high risk for postpartum emotional distress. This risk is further increased for women from ethnic minority groups due to specific stressors such as lack of social support, low socioeconomic status and restricted access to health providers and facilities. Objective: This study focused on postpartum emotional distress among Bedouin-Arab mothers, an understudied ethnic minority group living in Israel. Specifically, we examined how premature birth, ethnicity and personality interact in placing Bedouin-Arab and Jewish mothers at risk for postpartum emotional distress. Methods: Participants included 156 mothers of preterm infant (48 Bedouin; 108 Jewish) and 177 mothers of full-term infants (55 Bedouin; 122 Jewish). Measures included maternal reports of emotional distress (i.e. depression symptoms and parental role alteration stress) and the personality trait of self-criticism. Results: Bedouin mothers of preterm infants experienced the highest level of depression symptoms and parental role alteration stress compared to all other mothers. Furthermore, although no group difference was found in self-criticism, Bedouin mothers were more vulnerable to the negative effect of self-criticism than Jewish mothers. Vulnerability to self-criticism varied between the full-term and preterm groups, and in the context of depression or parental role alteration stress. Conclusion: Results are discussed with regard to the unique characteristics of the Bedouin society and the social status of Bedouin women. Clinical implications stressing the need for culturally sensitive adjustments that should be implemented in NICU environment are suggested.

publication date

  • January 1, 2013