Associations between singing to babies and symptoms of postnatal depression, wellbeing, self-esteem and mother-infant bond

Fancourt, D. and Perkins, R. (2017) Associations between singing to babies and symptoms of postnatal depression, wellbeing, self-esteem and mother-infant bond. Public Health, 145. pp. 149-152. ISSN 0033-3506

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Abstract

Introduction: There is growing research documenting the psychological benefits of singing. However, it remains unknown whether singing to new babies is associated with enhanced maternal mental health. This study had two aims: (i) to explore whether these associations exist, and (ii) to compare the effects of singing to babies with listening to music in order to explore whether the sound of music alone or the physical act of singing might be responsible for effects. Methods: Multiple linear and logistic regression models were used to analyse cross-sectional data from 391 new mothers, exploring associations between both singing to babies and listening to music, and symptoms of postnatal depression, wellbeing, self-esteem and self-rated mother-infant bond. Results: Singing to babies on a daily basis was associated with lower symptoms of postnatal depression and enhanced wellbeing, self-esteem and self-reported mother-infant bond. Listening to music was associated with lower depression and enhanced wellbeing but effects were attenuated by confounding variables involving other arts engagement. Discussion: These data suggest that the specific act of singing could support the mental health of new mothers. The correlations found in this study raise questions as to whether maternal singing to babies can causally improve maternal mental health and wellbeing and as such whether singing could be recommended to new mothers as a positive parenting practice, or whether supportive community singing interventions could be developed.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: singing, mental health, post-natal depression, wellbeing, self-esteem, mother-infant bond
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > Music
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Division: Centre for Performance Science
Depositing User: Daisy Fancourt
Date Deposited: 23 Jan 2017 11:04
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2017 14:33
URI: http://researchonline.rcm.ac.uk/id/eprint/85

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