Journal Article

Social Work Practice in Child and Family Care: A Study of Maternal Depression


in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 27, issue 6, pages 815-845
Published in print December 1997 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online December 1997 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
Social Work Practice in Child and Family Care: A Study of Maternal Depression

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A number of reviews have recently claimed that maternal depression is likely to be an important factor in the conduct of practice in child and family care. This claim has not, however, been subject to empirical investigation. This article reports on an empirical investigation of maternal depression and factors associated with it in child and family care social work. This showed that nearly two fifths of mothers in this client group suffered depression and a further 30 per cent were dysphoric. Families with depressed mothers suffered a greater number, range and severity of problems and were more likely to be categorized as more serious cases by the social services department. Depressed women more frequently had poorer social networks, problems with relatives and friends, displayed more problems with parenting and had children with more behavioural difficulties. Despite this, however, social workers were very poor at identifying the presence of depression and their intervention did not differ in any marked respect compared with families without depressed mothers. The article concludes that the philosophy of the Children Act 1989 and an anti-oppressive stance indicates that child-care social workers should be able to understand and work with this widespread depression.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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