BioScience Trends. 2007;1(3):149-155.

Factors associated with skills of health visitors in maternal-infant mental health in Japan.

Kamibeppu K, Nishigaki K, Yamashita H, Suzumiya H, Yoshida K


This study is a formative evaluation of a training seminar for health visitors, who visit mothers to provide them with support in terms of postpartum mental health, and was performed to examine factors that relate to the skills of these health visitors. Subjects were all health visitors (n = 232) from around Japan who participated in a 2-day training seminar. One-hundred and thirty-three valid responses (57.3%) were received and written consent to participate in the research was obtained. Results of statistical analyses indicated that a health visitor’s skill at supporting a mother in terms of postpartum mental health had two domains, such as interpersonal health care skills and skill at formulating measures. In addition to the length of experience (p < 0.001), the level of expertise (p < 0.001) and the total score on the Generalized Self-Efficacy Scale (p < 0.1 for interpersonal health care skills) was related to a higher level of the health visitor's skill at supporting mothers in terms of their postpartum mental health. In contrast, having a university degree (p < 0.1) was related to a lower level of the health visitor's interpersonal health care skills. Therefore, a training seminar aimed at promoting the skills of health visitors must provide them with the latest expertise and encourage their self-efficacy by helping them successfully envision supporting mothers in terms of their postpartum mental health. In addition, careful instruction of health visitors with less experience and a university degree is crucial.

KEYWORDS: Community mental health, home visits, maternal-child health, nursing skills, public health nurse

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