This study explores the stability and change in maternal life satisfaction and psychological distress following the birth of a child with a congenital anomaly using 5 assessments from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study collected from Pregnancy Week 17 to 36 months postpartum. Participating mothers were divided into those having infants with (a) Down syndrome (DS; n = 114), (b) cleft lip/palate (CLP; n = 179), and (c) no disability (ND; n = 99,122). Responses on the Satisfaction With Life Scale and a short version of the Hopkins Symptom Checklist were analyzed using structural equation modeling, including latent growth curves. Satisfaction and distress levels were highly diverse in the sample, but fairly stable over time (retest correlations: .47-.68). However, the birth of a child with DS was associated with a rapid decrease in maternal life satisfaction and a corresponding increase in psychological distress observed between pregnancy and 6 months postpartum. The unique effects from DS on changes in satisfaction (Cohen's d = -.66) and distress (Cohen's d = .60) remained stable. Higher distress and lower life satisfaction at later assessments appeared to reflect a persistent burden that was already experienced 6 months after birth. CLP had a temporary impact (Cohen's d = .29) on maternal distress at 6 months. However, the overall trajectories did not differ between CLP and ND mothers. In sum, the birth of a child with DS influences maternal psychological distress and life satisfaction throughout the toddler period, whereas a curable condition like CLP has only a minor temporary effect on maternal psychological distress.
This study investigates the long-term effects of parental divorce on adolescent psychological adjustment and well-being, and to what extent the effects are accounted for by parental psychological distress. Data were collected among 8,984 Norwegian adolescents (13-19 years) and their parents. Outcome variables were symptoms of anxiety and depression, subjective well-being, and three areas of school problems. Parental divorce was found to be associated with both higher mean levels and larger variances in adolescent problems. Divorce and parental distress contributed independently to adolescent distress, supporting the notion of "double exposure" effects. The prevalence of adolescents with substantial distress symptoms was 14% among those with non-distressed non-divorced parents and 30% among those with divorced and distressed parents. In general effects remained when controlling for demographic factors. Long-term effects of divorce on symptoms of anxiety and depression were stronger among girls than among boys.
**This is a prospective Norwegian study of a group of adolescents with an experience of parental divorce or separation (n=413) and a comparison group without this experience (n=1758). Mean age at T1 was 14.4 years and mean age at T2 was 18.4 years. Parental divorce was prospectively associated with a relative change in anxiety and depression, subjective well-being, self-esteem, and school problems. Considering boys separately, parental divorce was prospectively associated only with school problems. Among the girls, divorce was prospectively associated with all variables. The effect of divorce on relative change was partially mediated by paternal absence.
It is a widely held notion that alcohol abuse is related to mental distress in the spouse. Research has substantiated this notion by showing a tendency for spouses of alcohol abusers to experience more mental distress than spouses of non-abusers. However, the picture seems to be more complex, as some results do not show a significant effect or even less mental distress among spouses of alcohol abusers with the highest alcohol consumption. The present study investigates the association between spousal mental distress and both a high consumption of alcohol and having experienced alcohol related problems.
Norwegian population-based questionnaire data from the Nord-Trøndelag Health Study (HUNT 2) were analyzed. In total 11,584 couples were eligible for analysis. Alcohol consumption was measured by numerical indicators of alcohol amount and frequency of drinking, whereas alcohol-related problems (i.e. having been criticized for excessive drinking) were measured by the CAGE Alcohol Screening Questionnaire. Multivariate hierarchical regression analyses were performed.
Results revealed that alcohol consumption was significantly associated with a decrease in spousal mental distress, whereas alcohol-related problems were associated with an increase in spousal mental distress when adjusted for each other. Interaction effects indicated that couples discordant for drinking problems experienced more mental distress than spouses concordant for drinking problems.
The results of our study indicate that alcohol-related problems constitute a clear risk factor for spousal mental distress. On the other hand, a high consumption of alcohol per se was related to lower levels of spousal mental distress, after adjusting for the alcohol-related problems perceived by the alcohol consumer him/herself. All effect sizes were small, but the trends were clear, challenging the notion that a high consumption of alcohol is exclusively and under all circumstances negative for the spouse.
Prenatal maternal psychosocial stress might influence the development of childhood asthma. Evaluating paternal psychosocial stress and conducting a sibling comparison could provide further insight into the role of unmeasured confounding. We examined the associations of parental psychosocial stress during and after pregnancy with asthma at age 7 years in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (n = 63,626; children born in 2000-2007). Measures of psychosocial stress included lifetime major depressive symptoms, current anxiety/depression symptoms, use of antidepressants, anxiolytics, and/or hypnotics, life satisfaction, relationship satisfaction, work stress, and social support. Childhood asthma was associated with maternal lifetime major depressive symptoms (adjusted relative risk (aRR) = 1.19, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.09, 1.30), in addition to symptoms of anxiety/depression during pregnancy (aRR = 1.17, 95% CI: 1.06, 1.29) and 6 months after delivery (aRR = 1.17, 95% CI: 1.07, 1.28). Maternal negative life events during pregnancy (aRR = 1.10, 95% CI: 1.06, 1.13) and 6 months after delivery (aRR = 1.14, 95% CI: 1.11, 1.18) were also associated with asthma. These associations were not replicated when evaluated within sibling groups. There were no associations with paternal psychosocial stress. In conclusion, maternal anxiety/depression and negative life events were associated with offspring asthma, but this might be explained by unmeasured maternal background characteristics that remain stable across deliveries.
There is increasing interest in trauma-related shame and guilt. However, much remains unknown in terms of how these emotions relate to the type of event, gender and mental health. We investigated shame and guilt in men and women following various types of severe violence and their relation to mental health.
Telephone interviews were conducted with a Norwegian general population sample (n=4529; age=18-75; response rate=42.9%). Measures included child sexual abuse, child and adult rape, severe physical violence from/between parents, severe violence from a partner and non-partners, less severe violence and non-violent trauma, the new Shame and Guilt After Trauma Scale, and the Hopkins Symptom Checklist. Analyses included t-tests and linear regressions.
All types of severe violence were significantly associated with trauma-related shame and guilt (coefficients from 0.11 to 0.38, p-values
Marital distress and depression frequently co-occur, and partnership quality is associated with depressive symptoms and mental disorders in both men and women. One aim of this study was to investigate the contribution of a set of risk factors for emotional distress among men and women in couples, with a special focus on satisfaction with partner relationship. The most important aim was to investigate the extent to which high relationship satisfaction in couples acts as a buffer against stressful events.
Pregnant women and their husbands (n = 62,956 couples) enrolled in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study completed a questionnaire with questions about emotional distress, relationship satisfaction, and other risk factors. Twelve potential risk factors were included in the analyses, including relationship satisfaction, demographic characteristics, and somatic diseases in men and women. Associations between the predictor variables and emotional distress were estimated by multiple linear regression analysis. Cross-spousal effects, in which data reported by one of the spouses predicted emotional distress in the other, were also investigated. Possible interaction effects between certain risk factors and self-reported and partner's relationship satisfaction were tested and further explored with regression analyses in subsamples stratified by relationship satisfaction scores.
The unique effects of relationship satisfaction were of similar sizes for both men and women: substantial for self-reported (? = -0.23 and ? = -0.28, respectively) and weak for partner-reported satisfaction (? = -0.04 and ? = -0.02, respectively). Other relatively strong risk factors were somatic disease, first-time motherhood, and unemployment. Self-reported as well as partner-reported relationship satisfaction appeared to strongly buffer the effects of a number of stressors.
Partner relationship dissatisfaction is strongly associated with emotional distress in men and women. Good partner relationship, both as perceived by the individual him(her)self and by the spouse, quite strongly moderates adverse effects of various types of emotional strain.
Longitudinal research on caregiver burden related to mental disorders based on representative samples is scarce. Previous results on the development of burden over time are inconsistent. This article aims to establish whether change in mental disorder status in the index persons predicts subjective burden in their spouses in terms of changed mental health over a period of 11 years. We compared change in spousal mental health between four groups from a Norwegian population based sample of 9144 couples, in which the index persons suffered from mental disorder at the first, second, both, or none of the two measurement times. Mental disorder was defined by a high score on a measure of global mental health combined with self reported impaired functioning due to mental health problems. Spouses of index persons who suffered from mental disorder at the second but not the first measurement time reported moderately impaired mental health, but those spouses with few friends reported a more severe impairment. Spousal mental health in the other groups did not change significantly. Effect sizes were moderate. The findings suggest that spouses of mentally disordered individuals in general experience only moderate levels of burden, and that the transition into a caregiving role is the period in which spouses are vulnerable to negative effects on their mental health. The results point to the treatment of mental health problems in couples as a supplement or alternative to individual treatment.
As part of a campaign aimed at increasing first-aid knowledge and skills, a training program was introduced in Norwegian junior high schools in 1997/98. The program comprised a textbook, a video and a teacher's manual. A quasi-experimental design was applied to evaluate the effects. Data were collected by pre- and post-test questionnaires to 82 randomly selected schools. Indexes for knowledge of first aid, attitudes towards giving and learning first aid, self-efficacy, emotions connected with first-aid situations and intended behavior in situations requiring first-aid action were constructed. In the intention-to-treat analysis of these indexes, the difference between the intervention and control group was modest. A separate questionnaire filled in by the teachers showed a low degree of implementation of the program. When comparing those classes that really used the program with the control classes, significant differences were revealed in many of the variables. Both self-efficacy, emotions in situations requiring first-aid skills and attitudes toward giving and learning first aid were of importance for intended behavior.