New Study Examines Depression in Adoptive Mothers

A new study published in the journal Advances in Nursing Science shows significant rates of depression in adoptive mothers. The study, by Karen Foli (author of The Post-Adoption Blues), Susan South, and Eunjung Lim, investigated depression in 300 adoptive mothers, mostly during the first year after placement. Their rate of depression wsa 18-26% (on two different measures), which is higher than the rate for postpartum depression among the general population (10-15%). Several factors were found to influence whether an adoptive mother would likely suffer from depression, including parental expectations of what adoption and parenting would be like, the child’s special needs and bonding issues, fatigue, lack of support from others, marital problems, and history of mental health problems. Fathers were not studied in this publication, but I imagine the statistics would be similar for fathers who are primary caregivers for their children.

The transition to parenthood is huge, whether you gave birth to your children or adopted them. Disrupted sleep, lack of support, and the special challenges that adopted children can sometimes present can feel overwhelming. If you are feeling depressed, please don’t hesitate to seek counseling or medication to help you get through the transition. It’s not only important for your own well-being, but also for that of your child, as depression can strongly affect your ability to parent well.

You can read an abstract of the study here.

Do you have more questions about adoption? Contact The Vaughan Firm to speak with an adoption attorney.

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