An analysis of the very high level of maternal distress experienced by South Korean women with young children

Ji Yun Lee, Sae Eun Park, Yu Mi Kim, Hong Jun Cho, Young Ho Khang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study was conducted as a part of a larger study to identify the needs of a maternal and early childhood home visit program that the South Korean central government has begun to expand nationwide. This survey measured the distress of mothers with children aged 2 years or younger during the transition into motherhood using the Being a Mother scale (BaM-13) and compared the stress levels for each question with those of existing studies in other countries. The survey results revealed that the mean BaM-13 score of the 350 participants was 17.09 (SD = 6.81), with 87.7% showing very high levels of maternal distress, indicated by a score of 9 or above in BaM-13. The item from the BaM-13 with the highest response rate of 2 or 3 points (sum of the percentage of those who answered 2 and 3 points) was “I have missed the life I had before I became pregnant with this baby/toddler,” to which 80.8% of the respondents agreed. The percentage of South Korean mothers who answered 2 or 3 points was higher for every item on the BaM-13 than that of Australian mothers. A comparison of the total BaM-13 score and 3 factors (child experience, adult’s experience, and emotional closeness) of the BaM-13 according to the participants’ characteristics revealed that discrepancies in women’s sociodemographic factors (including smoking and alcohol consumption behaviors) were not significant, whereas differences in the total BaM-13 score and the 3 factors of the BaM-13 according to the mothers’ scores on the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale were noticeable. The high level of maternal distress observed in this study should be reflected in the nurse-led maternal and early childhood home visit program that the South Korean central government is expanding across the country.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0274016
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume17
Issue number9 September
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2022

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