Social support, parental role competence and satisfaction among Chinese mothers and fathers in the early postpartum period: A cross-sectional study



      A sense of parental competence and satisfaction during the transition to parenthood can have a tremendous impact on the quality of parenting behaviors, with social support being an important facilitator.


      To examine parental role competence and satisfaction of Chinese mothers and fathers in the early postpartum period with regard to social support.


      A cross-sectional study was conducted in a regional teaching hospital in Guangzhou, China. The study was conducted between June 5 and November 16, 2015. One hundred and eighty parental pairs at 6–8 weeks after birth completed the Parenting Sense of Competence Scale, Perceived Social Support Scale, and socio-demographic questionnaires.


      Parental role competence and satisfaction of Chinese mothers and fathers were at a moderate level, affected each other and there were no significant differences between the mothers and the fathers. The Competence Scale scores had a significant positive correlation with social support. Multiple regression analysis revealed two variables that predicted maternal Competence Scale scores: maternal social support and the paternal Competence Scale scores. Paternal social support and maternal Competence Scale scores contributed significantly to paternal Competence Scale scores.


      Parental role competence and satisfaction of mothers and fathers were at a moderate level and affected by the parenting partner. To improve parental role competence and satisfaction, health care professionals should develop strategies that impact the whole family and not just a single individual. Supportive parenting programs should be implemented for both mothers and fathers.


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