Date of Award

May 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Marriage and Family Therapy


Linda Stone Fish


Maternal depression, Maternal reports of child demandingness, Maternal reports of child well being

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences


Emotional problems in the postpartum period affect both mothers and children. This is particularly salient for mothers who are overweight or obese, who have been shown to be more at risk for adverse postpartum outcomes than mothers who were of a normal weight before pregnancy. The current study examined the relationships between maternal stress, maternal depression, social support, maternal self-efficacy, maternal perceptions of child demandingness, and child social and emotional quality of life (as the outcome variable) in the two years after a second childbirth among a sample of overweight and obese women. The subjects of this analysis were the mother-child dyad, specifically relating to the mother's perceptions of the `demandingness' of her older child (not the child to which the mother had recently given birth). This study was grounded in Bandura's theory of social cognition, and looked at the forces that converge to influence mother's perceptions of child social and emotional quality of life among a group of obese and overweight women approximately two years post childbirth. This study was a secondary data analysis, and multiple regression analysis was used to determine what predicted perceptions of child social and emotional quality of life. Results showed that maternal self-efficacy and maternal reports of child demandingness significantly predicted mother's report of her child's social and emotional quality of life, with maternal reports of child demandingness emerging as a slightly stronger predictor. Maternal depression, social support, and stress had far less predictive value. Clinicians may use the results from this study to more effectively work with overweight and obese mothers in the postpartum period who may struggle with negative perceptions of their children and child behavior problems.


Open Access