Journal Article

An Evaluation of Social Support Intervention with Depressed Mothers in Child and Family Care

Michael Sheppard

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 34, issue 7, pages 939-960
Published in print October 2004 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online October 2004 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bch122
An Evaluation of Social Support Intervention with Depressed Mothers in Child and Family Care

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The significance of maternal depression to social work practice in child and family care has become increasingly apparent in recent years. Social support, furthermore, is a concept (as well as a reality) which provides a major focus for social work practice. Indeed, social support, it is also clear, is of considerable importance in helping prevent depression. This paper seeks to examine social support work carried out by social workers in relation to depressed mothers in child and family care. In particular it seeks to evaluate the quality of that intervention in the light of key problem areas associated with high levels of support needs, the extent to which social workers target support needs through direct, indirect and informal supports, and the extent to which particular interventions are associated with a higher adequacy of support experienced by these depressed women. The paper finds a certain degree of haphazardness in social workers’ targeting of support needs, although in some areas of indirect support, in particular, their targeting is reasonably accurate. There is little evidence of any one form of intervention being associated with more adequate support with one significant exception, relief care of children. The paper concludes that social workers need to develop a keener awareness of support deficits so that they are targeted better; they need to monitor more carefully interventions carried out by other agencies and professionals; and they should look to relief care of children as a major form of intervention to support these women.

Keywords: Maternal depression; effectiveness; social support; parenting

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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