Mental Well-Being of Mothers with Infants and Preschool Children in Japan: Investigating the Association between Depression and Spouse’s Participation in Childrearing

Kimiko Tanaka, Rochester Institute of Technology

In industrialized societies, medical attention to new mothers is high during pregnancy; however this drops after birth. This is understood as a “normal” transition, resulting in little attention paid to new parents’ well-being. In Japan since the 1990s, the importance of father’s involvement in child rearing has been emphasized in an attempt to halt decreasing fertility and in response to criticism toward gendered division of labor. However, how this social movement has contributed to women’s well-being after child birth has not been assessed. Using a logistic regression, this study analyzed data from a Japanese survey of women with infants and preschool children (育児や介護と仕事の両立に関する調査), examining the relationship between mothers' experience of stress and depression after child birth and their spouses' involvement in child rearing. The preliminary findings suggest that a spouse’s involvement in child rearing can be a key influence on the likelihood of a new mother's stress and depression.

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Presented in Session 80: Fertility and Reproductive Health During/After Bad times