Disrupted family life is a major cause of stress for mothers of babies – Aboriginal Australians

aboriginal australian

A study involving 344 Aboriginal women in Adelaide, South Australia, in 2011-2013, found family arguments to be the top source of stress as reported by mothers. The women had babies aged between 1 and 17 months and were aged between 15 and 43 years.

The researchers asked the women about 12 stressful events:

  • death of a family member
  • family argument
  • serious illness or injury
  • having to stop work or study, not because of the pregnancy.
  • housing problems / having to move house
  • trouble with police or having to go to court
  • leaving home because of a family argument or fight
  • being scared by other people’s behaviour
  • being pestered for money
  • being pushed, shoved or assaulted
  • having drug and alcohol problems;
  • having a partner with drug and alcohol problems.

55% of women reported family arguments and 27% reported having to leave home as a result. 56% of women reported three or more of the 12 problems and these women were three times more likely to report high or very high psychological distress (35.6 % versus 11.1 %).

The researchers conclude that clinical care has to be combined with social support for women.


Weetra D, Glover K, Buckskin M, Ah Kit J, Leane C, Mitchell A, Stuart-Butler D, Turner M, Yelland J, Gartland D and Brown SJ (2016), Stressful events, social health issues and psychological distress in Aboriginal women having a baby in South Australia: implications for antenatal care, BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth

Photo: Ken Ilio. Creative Commons.