Can social support in the guise of an oral health education intervention promote mother-infant bonding in Chinese immigrant mothers and their infants?

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Objective: To examine if social support in the guise of a culturally sensitive, community-based oral health intervention could promote mother-infant bonding in socially-isolated immigrant mothers.

Design: A quasi-experimental design.

Participants: A convenience sample of 36 Chinese immigrant mothers with 8-week-old infants was divided into intervention and control groups.

Intervention: The ChIME (Chinese Immigrant Mothers oral health Education) programme, a culturally-sensitive oral health education intervention included social support elements. Intervention mothers had five home-visits augmented by telephone calls and open access to the first author (SY). All mothers completed the Postpartum Bonding Questionnaire (PBQ) at baseline, when the infant was aged six months and 12 months. The PBQ screened for impaired mother-infant bonding.

Results: At baseline, the Chinese mothers had significantly greater mean scores for bonding disorder; rejection and pathological anger and for incipient abuse compared with normative values but equivalent mean scores when compared with normative values for depressed mothers. At 12-month follow-up the intervention compared with control group mothers had significantly greater decreases in mean scores for bonding disorder, rejection and pathological anger and infant-centred anxiety.

Conclusion: Social support provided within the guise of a culturally-sensitive oral health education programme assisted socially-isolated immigrant mothers to improve the quality of their relationship with their infants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-66
Number of pages10
JournalHealth Education Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011


  • children
  • mother-infant bonding
  • oral health

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