Effects of parenting support groups on social support, marital support, and perceptions of infants

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

This study investigated the relationships among prepartum parenting support groups, social support, marital support, and maternal perceptions of infants. The subjects were 20 prospective first-time parents; nine of the 20 women attended the workshops with their husbands. Subjects completed measures of social support number and satisfaction (SSQ-S and SSQ-N), marital support (MAT), and perceptions of infants (NPI) at three times: prepartum, at one week postpartum, and at 8 weeks postpartum. Social support number and satisfaction, and marital support, were stable and highly correlated with each other at all three times. None of the support variables predicted perceptions of infants. Postpartum perceptions of infants were significantly more positive than prepartum perceptions, most likely due to increased experience with infants. Women with low levels of marital support were significantly more likely to experience Cesarean section birth. The design of this study was modest, utilizing no control group. Results are discussed in light of this limitation.