British Journal of Clinical Psychology

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Volume 37 Issue 4 (November 1998), Pages 371-473

The mental health of Muslim mothers in extended families living in Britain: The impact of intergenerational disagreement on anxiety and depression (pages 399-408)

Objectives. The study assessed the impact of intergenerational differences of opinion over child rearing on the mental health of Muslim mothers living in extended families.

Design. The study adopted a correlational design in an attempt to identify factors that accounted for mental health problems.

Methods. The child‐rearing attitudes of mothers and grandmothers, mothers' mental health, levels of family acculturation and a range of other background and demographic information was collected from 54 extended families living in two Muslim communities in London using Urdu versions of standard questionnaires.

Results. Rates of depression and anxiety among the mothers in the study were high. Grandmothers had more traditional attitudes to child rearing than did mothers. Intergenerational discrepancy over child rearing was more marked in more acculturated families. Discrepancy was associated with higher levels of mothers' anxiety and depression.

Conclusions. The unusually high levels of depression and anxiety displayed by Muslim mothers living in extended families can in part be accounted for by patterns of intergenerational discrepancy. These possibly reflect discordant world views within those families that have been assimilated into the dominant British culture.

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