Introduction: Positive outcomes in the aftermath of childbirth have increasingly been studied in the last decade. However, most of the studies concentrate on short-term outcomes. The current study examined the perceived personal growth of mothers four years after childbirth, investigating the contribution of the event characteristics (full-term/pre-term birth), internal resources (optimism, self-esteem) and personal growth as measured one year after the birth. Methods: Mothers (n=259) participated in the study by completing a set of self-report questionnaires one and four years following the birth of their child/ren. Results: Personal growth after four years was found to be higher among mothers of pre-terms than of full-terms, and higher four years after the birth than it had been three years earlier. Furthermore, regression analysis indicated the significant contributions of being a mother to pre-term baby/ies, optimism and personal growth one year after the birth to women’s personal growth three years later. Discussion: The results highlight the potential long-term effects of giving birth to a pre-term baby on personal growth, as well as the contribution of optimism as an important internal resource. They also indicate the development of personal growth over time. Explanations for the findings are offered and their practical implications are discussed.
- Personal growth