A Comparison of Life Stress and Depressive Symptoms in Pregnant Taiwanese and Immigrant Women

Ying Tsao, Debra K. Creedy, Jenny Gamble

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Background: An increasing number of women from other countries, mostly Mainland China and Southeast Asia, are marrying Taiwanese husbands and settling in Taiwan. Immigration, marriage abroad, and pregnancy may be stressful and adversely affect maternal health. Relatively little research has compared the life stress and depressive symptoms of pregnant women of different ethnic groups living in nonmetropolitan areas in Taiwan. Purpose: This study investigates the levels of life stress and depressive symptoms in pregnant Taiwanese women and Vietnamese "foreign brides" currently living in southern Taiwan. Methods: Eligible women in their last trimester of pregnancy who attended their local antenatal clinic were recruited for the study. Participants completed standardized measures, including the Difficult Life Circumstances Scale, Social Support APGAR Scale, and Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. Results: Two hundred thirty-six Taiwanese women and 44 Vietnamese women participated. Major life difficulties for both groups of women were related to their marital relationship, housing, or health problems. Taiwanese participants reported perceiving financial strain more often than their Vietnamese peers, whereas Vietnamese participants reported perceiving greater concerns regarding their children's development and about recent physical abuse than their Taiwanese peers. Furthermore, the Vietnamese participants reported less social support and higher rates of antenatal depression than Taiwanese participants. Conclusions/Implications for Practice: Clinical nurses and midwives should be sensitive to the particular difficulties and insufficient social support faced by pregnant women from different backgrounds in Taiwan. Women from foreign countries or those under unique challenging circumstances may face a particular risk of adverse outcomes. Identifying stresses informs the development of effective nursing interventions and support activities for new mothers and their families.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)272-280
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Nursing Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2016 Taiwan Nurses Association.


  • antenatal depression
  • difficult life circumstances
  • immigrant women
  • pregnancy
  • social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)


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