A Comparison of the Characteristics of Zimbabwean Women Who Abandon Their Children and Those Who Do Not
Objective: To examine the relationship of child abandonment with maternal perception of the infant and perceived social support during the perinatal period.
Design: Correlational two group comparative survey
Setting: Khami women’s prison and United Bulawayo Hospital
Subjects: Women who had abandoned their babies
Main outcome Measures: Demographic variables included maternal age at the time of pregnancy, parity, education level, marital status, medication used in pregnancy, length of pregnancy, health status. Maternal perception of the infant was measured using a Neonatal Perception Inventory. Social support was measured using the Perceived Social Support Scale -Friends and Family (Prociano and Heller, 1983).
Results Bi-variate correlation showed a negative correlation to infant perception. Further analysis showed that the groups were also different in terms of age, marital status, place of delivery, but not different in terms of the education attainment, employment status, and child factors such as age, sex, and gestational age of the child.
Conclusion Child abandoners were younger mostly single and did not deliver in hospital settings. They were likely to have had a negative perception of their infant. However, child abandonment was not associated with education attainment, employment status, and child factors such as age, sex, and gestational age of the child.
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