What matters most: An investigation of predictors of perceived stress among young mothers in Khayelitsha

Rhonda BeLue, Andrea S. Schreiner, Kelly Taylor-Richardson, Laura E. Murray-Kolb, John L. Beard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Our purpose in the present study was to examine how two different sets of stressors, one representing the physical environment and the other representing the social environment, related to perceived stress among new mothers served by a health clinic in Khayelitsha, South Africa. We found that among the chronic urban poverty-environmental stressors related to water, housing, transportation, toileting, and lack of food, that lack of drinkable water in the home had the strongest correlation with perceived stress. In terms of social stressors we found that 60% of new mothers had no partner, and 43% of those with a partner reported that they currently were not coresiding. In terms of the social stressors, the inability to depend on a partner in times of trouble had the strongest relationship to perceived stress. Other findings relating to partner support are discussed as well as sample and community characteristics. Given the importance of partner support, it is argued that the conditions of poverty itself serve to destabilize relationships, which in turn contributes to the cycle of poverty experienced by many residents of periurban settlements like Khayelitsha.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)638-648
Number of pages11
JournalHealth Care for Women International
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 1 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Health Professions


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