Although it is commonly acknowledged that pregnancy can lead to postpartum mood disorders (PPMDs), over twenty percent of new moms do not discuss their symptoms with healthcare providers.
North Carolina State University researchers found that 21 percent of recent mothers experiencing conditions such as anxiety and depression, fail to inform their healthcare team.
“Our study finds that many women who would benefit from treatment are not receiving it, because they don’t tell anyone that they’re dealing with any challenges,” says Betty-Shannon Prevatt. Prevatt is a practicing clinical psychologist and Ph.D. student at North Carolina State who was lead author of a paper on the work.
“We know that 10-20 percent of women experience significant mood disorders after childbirth, and those disorders can adversely affect the physical and emotional well-being of both mothers and children,” Prevatt says.
“Our goal with this study was to see how many women are not disclosing these problems, since that’s a threshold issue for helping women access treatment.”
To address this question, investigators conducted an anonymous survey of 211 women who had given birth within the previous three years. The survey asked women whether they’d experienced PPMD symptoms and whether they had disclosed PPMD symptoms to healthcare providers.
In the survey, health providers queried if the new mother disclosed her mood disorder to anyone on the care team ranging from doulas and lactation consultants to nurses and doctors. Researchers also asked and a set of questions related to the mom’s mental health and obstacles to seeking care.
Survey responses showed that 51 percent of study participants met the criteria for a PPMD. However, just more than one in five of those who experienced PPMDs did not disclose their problems to healthcare providers.
“To place this in context, there are national guidelines in place telling healthcare providers to ask women about PPMD symptoms after childbirth,” says Sarah Desmarais, an associate professor of psychology at NC State and co-author of the paper.
“With so many women in our study not disclosing PPMDs to their providers, it strongly suggests that a significant percentage of these women did not disclose their symptoms even when asked.”
The study found that women experiencing the highest levels of stress, and women with the strongest social support networks, were most likely to report their PPMD symptoms to healthcare providers.
From the study, researchers did not discover any specific barriers to disclosing PPMD symptoms. However, the study did find that women who were unemployed, had a history of mental health problems or were experiencing severe symptoms were more likely to report barriers to treatment — though the specific barriers to treatment varied significantly.
“This work highlights the importance of support networks and the need to normalize the wide variety of reactions women have after childbirth,” Prevatt says.
“We need to make it OK for women to talk about their mental health, so that they can have better access to care. Working with the people around new mothers may be key.”
“We don’t just need to teach women how to develop a birth plan, we need to teach them how to develop a social support plan,” Desmarais says.
The paper, “Facilitators and Barriers to Disclosure of Postpartum Mood Disorder Symptoms to a Healthcare Provider,” appears in the Maternal and Child Health Journal.
The researchers are currently recruiting participants for a follow-up study aimed at addressing similar questions in Spanish-language communities.
Source: North Carolina State University
A while ago, I wrote a letter on my blog to my high school bullies. Even if they would never read it, it was incredibly cathartic for me to write and put out there and lots of you actually emailed me to say you had been through the same or were currently going through the same thing.
It was so genuinely nice to talk to people who have had similar experiences, as back then I couldn’t talk to anyone about it.
Today though, I want to reach out to those of you that are being bullied in school right now because I have something to share with you…
The bullies at my school started teasing me very early, as early as primary school (I would have been around 6 when it started) and it continued into high school. All of my bullies were different, I didn’t have just one group of bullies throughout my school days, it was several. Due to that, I felt the things they were saying about me and things they were doing to me was justified. I figured that if all these people think there’s something about me worth bullying, then it must be true because that many kids can’t be wrong.
Do you want to know the reasons they gave me for teasing me, calling me names and physically assaulting me?
I wore glasses
Speccy-four-eyes was a common ‘alternative name’ that I was given but the name calling didn’t bother me so much, it was the kids who took my glasses from my face and threw them around the class so I couldn’t see that pissed me off more than anything.
What happened a couple of years after I left school? Glasses became popular and hipster and every kid I went to school with started donning a pair of glasses with no prescription just to look “cool”.
I was a “Geek”
Apparently wearing glasses and being quiet made me a geek and even though, I’m probably more of a geek now, it was a bit of a silly thing to be picked on for. Especially since Geek has now become a popular thing to want to be. I blame Big Bang Theory and the very same hipster glasses look I mentioned above but every.fucking.stupid.kid that bullied me in high school now claims to be a “Geek” because they like marvel films/read “all the harry potter films”/watches a BBC documentary now and again. It actually amuses me how so many people who picked on me, are desperate to be labelled a geek.
I had black hair and pale skin
Yep. That got me bullied a lot actually, ’cause obviously having natural black hair and pale skin is creepy and having a dark tan and blonde hair is totally fucking normal for someone who lives in bloody North Wales! I was called all sorts of shit for having black hair but in all honesty my favourite nickname was ‘Morticia’ because while my dearest bullies thought this was insulting, I took it as a compliment. Moticia is cool AF.
What happened just before I left school though? Oh yes. Black hair became popular and one of the girls who taunted me all through school decided to dye her hair black.
I had a “Satanic” music taste
This was pretty funny actually and by this point, I’d gotten to a place where I was able to laugh off a lot of things that were being said to me because at least I KNEW they were ridiculous. I listened to rock and metal and back then, the chavs of my high school just couldn’t wrap their head around it. It was a non-school uniform day once and I was dressed in my baggy jeans and fish net gloves and one of the kids had heard I was going to a Linkin Park concert that night and tried to tell everyone I was a Satanist… proving they didn’t understand Satanism OR Linkin Park. I mean, it was Linkin Park for flip sake. Imagine if they’d heard the rest of my favourite bands? I think if I’d played them Dimmu Borgir they would have shit themselves.
But true to fashion, who do I see posting RIP’s to Chester Bennington of Linkin Park a few weeks back? Yes, the kids who bullied me at school. Apparently they had been “long time fans”.
I was also told that I was ugly and fat etc. but then had the same guys that said those nasty things to me in high school, trying to hit on me a few years later!
The point I’m trying to make is, bullies will find ANY reason to hurt someone – It’s NOT YOU! They just want someone to punish, it’s got nothing to do with who you are or what you look like and you’ll probably find out just like I did, that the same things you’re being bullied for, your bullies will end up doing or liking eventually anyway as soon as it becomes “mainstream” and you’ll definitely find that the things you’re being bullied for, will be something that someone will ADORE you for one day.
Don’t give them the power that they desperately want by believing their bullshit because they don’t deserve it. They don’t deserve to take away your self-esteem and your confidence because they won’t be in your lives forever and even if they are for some reason, one day you will be in a much better position than they will and you’ll realise that whatever they may have said to you in the past, holds no weight in the real world.
Do you know what I did to get back at them? I made something of myself despite them. I became successful. I chose to be happy… and that is the best revenge you can ask for and soon, you’ll get to experience that. I just know it. So just tell them to go f*jgasgks**k themselves <3
Bit of exciting news for a Wednesday! As a major advocate of all things ‘crazy,’ I take an interest in charities that aim to spread…
The latest episode of ‘Crazy Talk With…’ is now available. In this episode I chat to CBBC and Radio 1 presenter Katie Thistleton! Smart, caring…
Emerging research suggests the quality of your high school friendships, rather than the number of friendships, influence mental health through young adulthood.
Adolescence is a time of social challenges and changing expectations. For many youth, being with the “in crowd” and becoming a social butterfly are key for social inclusion and happiness.
Now, a new longitudinal study suggests that the types of peer relationships youth make in high school matter for mental health through young adulthood.
“Our research found that the quality of friendships during adolescence may directly predict aspects of long-term mental and emotional health,” according to Rachel K. Narr, Ph.D. candidate in clinical psychology at the University of Virginia, who led the study.
“High school students with higher-quality best friendships tended to improve in several aspects of mental health over time, while teens who were popular among their peers during high school may be more prone to social anxiety later in life.”
The study looked at a community sample of 169 adolescents over 10 years, from the time they were age 15 to when they were 25.
The youth were racially, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse, with 58 percent Caucasian, 29 percent African American, and eight percent of mixed race/ethnicity, and with median family income $40,000 to $59,999.
Adolescents were assessed annually, answering questions about who their closest friends were, reporting on their friendships, and participating in interviews and assessments exploring such feelings as anxiety, social acceptance, self-worth, and symptoms of depression.
Researchers also interviewed teens’ close friends on their friendships.
High-quality friendships were defined as close friendships with a degree of attachment and support, and those that allow for intimate exchanges. Friendship quality was determined from reports by participants’ best friends at age 15.
Popularity was defined as the number of peers in the teens’ grade who ranked them as someone they would like to spend time with, and was measured using nominations from all the teens.
Researchers found that teens who prioritized close friendships at age 15 had lower social anxiety, an increased sense of self-worth, and fewer symptoms of depression by the time they reached age 25 than their peers.
Conversely, teens who were broadly sought after in high school — that is, those who were popular among their peers — had higher levels of social anxiety as young adults.
Neither having a strong best friendship nor being more popular predicted short-term changes in mental health, the researchers note. These differences only became apparent later and they appeared regardless of youth’s experiences in the interim.
The study’s conclusion: Experiencing strong, intimate friendships during adolescence may help promote long-term mental health.
The researchers suggest that this may be because positive experiences with friends help bolster positive feelings about oneself during a stage of life when personal identity is being developed.
Also, close friendships may set adolescents on a trajectory to expect and therefore encourage supportive experiences in the future.
The study also determined that there was a low relation between teens having high-quality friendships and being more sought after by their peers.
This suggests that although some teens manage both popularity and close friendship well, and attract both due to similar characteristics, for the most part, these two types of social success are due to different personal attributes.
“Our study affirms that forming strong close friendships is likely one of the most critical pieces of the teenage social experience,” explains Joseph Allen, Hugh P. Kelly Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia, who both coauthored the study.
“Being well-liked by a large group of people cannot take the place of forging deep, supportive friendships. And these experiences stay with us, over and above what happens later.
“As technology makes it increasingly easy to build a social network of superficial friends, focusing time and attention on cultivating close connections with a few individuals should be a priority.”
A new study, published in the journal Child Development, set out to measure the emotional and physiological responses of new mothers toward their distressed infants in order to identify any factors that might predict an insecure type of attachment, such as infant avoidance and resistance.
Although most infants develop secure attachment relationships with their mothers, about 40 percent of babies establish insecure attachments and are at risk for problems later in life.
Some of these insecurely-attached babies develop what is called insecure-avoidant attachments (minimizing expressing negative emotions and avoiding contact with their mothers when they’re afraid or uncertain), while others develop insecure-resistant attachments (becoming emotionally overwhelmed and inconsolable by their mothers in these circumstances).
“Identifying factors that contribute to infants’ avoidance and resistance is important for developing effective interventions that promote babies’ attachment security, and in turn, positive child development,” said Ashley M. Groh, assistant professor of psychological sciences at the University of Missouri, Columbia, who led the study.
For the study, researchers from the University of Missouri, the University of North Carolina and Pennsylvania State University evaluated an ethnically and economically diverse group of 127 mothers and their infants.
Half of the families were African American and half were European American. Half of the families lived below the 2002 federal poverty line (that is, annual income below $15,000 for a family of three) and half lived above that line.
Researchers analyzed the mothers’ respiration sinus arrhythmia (RSA), or the variability in their heart rate over the breathing cycle, when they interacted with their distressed babies at six months of age.
Decreases in RSA when faced with a challenge, such as a crying baby, reflect better physiological regulation that supports actively coping with that challenge. Researchers also observed how the mothers expressed emotion when they interacted with their distressed infants.
Six months later, when the infants were 12 months old, researchers assessed their attachments to their mothers using the Strange Situation procedure, which involves going through a series of separations and subsequent reunions with their mothers. Research has shown that an infant’s behavior when reunited with his or her mother tells us about the pattern of attachment.
When reunited with their mothers, insecure-avoidant infants ignore their mothers, while insecure-resistant infants become very distressed and simultaneously seek and resist their mothers.
The study findings show that mothers who had smaller decreases in RSA — meaning, less physiological regulation — when they interacted with their distressed infants at six months were more likely to have avoidant infants at 12 months. This type of physiological response might undermine a mother’s ability to cope with her infant’s distress. The baby may view her as a less effective source of comfort and ultimately be less likely to seek her out when upset or uncertain.
Mothers who were more emotionally neutral (versus positive) when their infants were distressed at six months were more likely to have resistant infants at 12 months. This suggests that a mother’s emotionally muted response toward her distressed infant might lead the baby to increase his or her expressions of distress.
“This study provides evidence that we can better understand babies’ and mothers’ experiences in these important encounters when babies need reassurance and support if we consider both the mothers’ emotional response and her physiological regulation in these challenging caregiving contexts,” said Martha Cox, professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
“The evidence can inform efforts aimed at promoting attachment security. Such efforts might target the specific challenges mothers face when confronted with their babies’ distress.”
sometimes when i least expect it i catch a glimmer of you.
at a random moment when my mind is on something else it happens. for a second i am transported.
i am looking walking running flying out the front door, bare feet slapping on hot pavement. i jump into your arms, spilling over with excited anticipation. “daddy’s home!” i shout and you smile, taking my hand as we walk back inside.
we are working in the yard. i want to help you build a new flower bed and you grin at my childish eagerness. “ok,” you say. “you can help me.” i bask in the warm sunlight of your love as i get to work.
it is fall and michigan is playing notre dame. you are watching the screen and i am watching you. we are caught up in the emotion of the game. i shout when you shout, i cheer when you cheer. we leap up, yelling “M GO BLUE!”
i ask you what you did in the navy. you tell me stories and teach me lessons. show me pictures. things you brought back. to me you are a hero. every story makes you braver in my little girl eyes.
it is christmas eve and it’s time for bed. we are nested close on the couch, a family of four. you are reading “the night before christmas” and everything feels right to me. the fire is crackling, the lights on the tree are twinkling. i close my eyes and listen to the story, feeling totally full and tingly with anticipation at the same time.
we are riding in the car with the windows rolled down. bob seger, bruce springsteen, the mommas and the poppas, chuck berry blast out of the speakers. you know all the words so i watch you sing, faking it when i miss a lyric or two.
you are telling terrible jokes and i can’t stop laughing. “you can pick your nose, and you can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your friend’s nose.” nothing could be funnier. no joke was ever better. i laugh so hard that tears stream down my face.
we are sitting side by side, me with my sax and you with your trumpet. “what’s next?” you ask. “i left my heart in san francisco?” we play slowly as i struggle to pick out the notes. i sense your patience and i wish i was better. i promise myself i’ll start to practice more.
it is my fifth grade graduation and i feel like i’m standing on top of the world. after dinner you slide a small box across the table, wrapped with a pretty white bow. i open it, breathless. a necklace. the most beautiful necklace i’ve ever seen. i think to myself that i am the luckiest.
sometimes when i least expect it i catch a glimmer of you. for a second i am transported.
but a glimmer never lasts. by nature it is temporary.
like sunlight on the water or smoke in the wind it is fleeting.
i reach out i try to catch it, save it, keep it.
but it slips away as soon as it is seen.
like a single shooting star it shimmers
and is gone.
While it is common for kids to experience anxiety as they go back to school, new research finds parents also experience a variety of stress provoking concerns.
University of Michigan researchers polled 2,051 adults — including 1,505 parents of children ages zero to 18 — from a nationally representative household survey, and discovered bullying and cyberbullying were the major source of parents’ list of worries.
Close behind were internet safety and stress, motor vehicle accidents, and school violence.
But investigators discovered worries differed among racial groups. For example, African-American parents were most concerned about racial inequities and school violence affecting their children.
“Adults across the country recognized bullying, including cyberbullying, as the leading health problem for U.S. children,” says Gary Freed, M.D., M.P.H., a C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital professor of pediatrics and the poll’s co-director.
This is the eleventh year the Mott Poll has surveyed a national sample of adults on the top 10 health concerns rated as a “big problem” for children and teens. For the first time, this year parents were also asked to rate health concerns for their own children.
“When it came to their own kids, parents’ biggest child health concerns depended on their children’s ages,” Freed says.
“For example, for parents of children ages zero to five, cancer was rated as a top health concern even though pediatric cancer is quite rare. Parents may have concerns about very serious conditions despite the small risk for them.”
As more children have access to the internet and social media, many parents also expressed concerns about their children’s safety online.
Experts have raised concerns about how cyberbullying may impact children’s mental health, with anxiety, depression, and even suicide being linked to this type of harassment. Vulnerability to online predators is also a risk.
“Parents should regularly discuss internet safety with their children and teens and ways to prevent problems,” Freed says.
“Simple effective strategies may include not providing personal identifying information on social media, chat platforms, or in shared gaming environments.”
Motor vehicle accidents — which are the leading cause of death for children age two to 14 — were also of great concern to all groups of parents. In 2015, more than 650 children died and more than 120,000 were injured in crashes.
A new UK study finds that children and young people under-25 who become victims of cyberbullying are more than twice as likely to enact self-harm and attempt suicide than non-victims.
An interesting aspect of cyberbullying is that the perpetrator, or the person committing cyberbullying, is also more likely to experience suicidal thoughts and behaviors.
The collaborative research, led by investigators at the University of Birmingham, included the review of more than 150,000 children and young people across 30 countries, over a 21-year period.
Their findings, published on open access in PLOS One, highlighted the significant impact that cyberbullying involvement (as bullies and victims) can have on children and young people.
The researchers say it shows an urgent need for effective prevention and intervention in bullying strategies.
Professor Paul Montgomery, University of Birmingham explains, “Prevention of cyberbullying should be included in school anti-bullying policies. Guidelines for broader concepts such as digital citizenship, online peer support for victims, and how an electronic bystander might appropriately intervene, are necessary. Moreover, specific interventions such as how to contact mobile phone companies and Internet service providers to block, educate, or identify users should be created.
“Suicide prevention and intervention is essential within any comprehensive anti-bullying program and should incorporate a whole-school approach to include awareness raising and training for staff and pupils.”
A number of key recommendations have been made:
The study also found a strong link between being a cyber-victim and a perpetrator. This duality was found to particularly put males at higher risk of depression and suicidal behaviors.
The researchers highlighted that these vulnerabilities should be recognized at school so that cyberbullying behaviors would be seen as an opportunity to support vulnerable young people, rather than for discipline.
It was recommended that anti-bullying programs and protocols should address the needs of both victims and perpetrators, as possible school exclusion might contribute to an individual’s sense of isolation and lead to feelings of hopelessness, often associated with suicidal behaviors in adolescents.
It was also found that students who were cyber-victimized were less likely to report and seek help than those victimized by more traditional means, thus highlighting the importance for staff in schools to encourage “help-seeking” in relation to cyberbullying.