The association between maternal and partner experienced racial discrimination and prenatal perceived stress, prenatal and postnatal depression: findings from the growing up in New Zealand cohort study

Bécares, Laia and Atatoa-Carr, Polly (2016) The association between maternal and partner experienced racial discrimination and prenatal perceived stress, prenatal and postnatal depression: findings from the growing up in New Zealand cohort study. International Journal for Equity in Health, 15 (155). pp. 1-12. ISSN 1475-9276

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Abstract

Background
A growing number of studies document the association between maternal experiences of racial discrimination and adverse children’s outcomes, but our understanding of how experiences of racial discrimination are associated with pre- and post-natal maternal mental health, is limited. In addition, existent literature rarely takes into consideration racial discrimination experienced by the partner.

Methods
We analysed data from the Growing Up in New Zealand study to examine the burden of lifetime and past year experiences of racial discrimination on prenatal and postnatal mental health among Māori, Pacific, and Asian women in New Zealand (NZ), and to study the individual and joint contribution of mother’s and partner’s experiences of lifetime and past year racial discrimination to women’s prenatal and postnatal mental health.

Results
Our findings show strong associations between lifetime and past year experiences of ethnically-motivated interpersonal attacks and unfair treatment on mother’s mental health. Māori, Pacific, and Asian women who had experienced unfair treatment by a health professional in their lifetime were 66 % more likely to suffer from postnatal depression, compared to women who did not report these experiences. We found a cumulative effect of lifetime experiences of ethnically-motivated personal attacks on poor maternal mental health if both the mother and the partner had experienced a racist attack.

Conclusions
Experiences of racial discrimination have severe direct consequences for the mother’s mental health. Given the importance of mother’s mental health for the basic human needs of a healthy child, racism and racial discrimination should be addressed.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Education and Social Work > Social Work and Social Care
Subjects: L Education
Depositing User: Deeptima Massey
Date Deposited: 10 Aug 2018 08:39
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2018 15:27
URI: http://srodev.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/77662

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