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Prevalence and Predictors of Parenting Outcomes in a Cohort of Mothers With Schizophrenia Admitted for Joint Mother and Baby Psychiatric Care in England

Kathryn M. Abel, PhD; Roger T. Webb, MSc; Margaret P. Salmon, BSc; Ming W. Wan, PhD; and Louis Appleby, MD

Published: June 15, 2005

Article Abstract

Objectives: Most women with schizophreniahave children. Schizophrenia has been identifiedas an independent predictor of poor parentingoutcome following joint mother and baby psychiatricadmission. We aimed to describe the characteristicsof these women postnatally and to estimatethe prevalence of, and identify independentpredictors of, parenting outcomes.

Method: Clinical and psychosocial datafrom consecutive joint psychiatric admissions ofmothers and infants between September 1996 andSeptember 2002 were collected. Diagnoses werebased on ICD-10 criteria (N = 239 schizophrenia;N = 693 affective disorders). The prevalence ofeach parenting outcome at discharge, assessedaccording to social services intervention andstaff-rated measures of parenting ability, wasestimated. Factors associated with poor parentingoutcomes and independent predictors were identifiedusing "modified" Poisson regression, andprevalence of these parenting outcomes was estimatedin subgroups of mothers stratified by combinationsof protective/risk factors.

Results: Mothers with schizophrenia werecharacterized as having more complex clinicaland psychosocial problems and were considerablymore likely to experience all types of poor parentingoutcomes, compared to mothers with affectivedisorders. Mothers with schizophrenia reportingsupportive marital and other relationships, thosewhose partners were well, and those of highersocial class showed the best parenting outcomes.

Conclusions: Mothers with schizophreniawho experience better parenting outcomes maybe protected by certain factors. Successful parentingis related, partly, to stability within the familyand access to financial and social resources. Thenature of the relationship between identified predictorsand parenting outcomes in this group isunclear but may suggest that parenting outcomevaries with clinical outcome in schizophrenia.Future research and service development shouldfocus on potential protective factors that mayencourage successful parenting outcomes inthis vulnerable group.’ ‹

Volume: 66

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