series event

Who cares? Multidisciplinary perspectives on social support and maternal-child health

A woman carrying a baby on her back, being watched by a toddler standing in the background.
Photo credit: Dr Abigail Page

A special Evolutionary Demography Seminar on ‘Multidisciplinary perspectives on social support and maternal-child health’ to accompany the release of a special issue of The Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences has been jointly organised by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and UCL. 

It has long been acknowledged that women with children require social support to promote their health and wellbeing, as well as that of their children. However, the current conceptualisation of support has been heavily influenced by Western family norms. The consequence, at best, has been to stifle our understanding of the nature and consequences of support for mothers and children. At worst, it has led to systematic discrimination negatively impacting maternal-child health. To fully engage with the complexities of social support, we must take a multi/interdisciplinary approach spanning diverse cultural and geographical perspectives.

This webinar and the special issue marks an attempt by like-minded researchers from diverse disciplines to build a holistic understanding of social support and its consequences for mothers and their children, from which more nuanced future work will hopefully stem. 



16.00 – 17.20: Presentations

Authors from the special issue will give short 5-minute presentations summarising their contributions.


  • Emily Emmott: “Introduction: Who cares for women with children? Crossing the bridge between disciplines”
  • Gracia Fellmeth: “Perinatal depression in migrant and refugee women on the Thai-Myanmar border: does social support matter?”
  • Sarah Myers: “The Differential Role of Practical and Emotional Support in Infant Feeding Experience in the UK”
  • Yang-Shing Chang: “Relatively speaking? Partners and family members’ views and experiences of supporting breastfeeding: a systematic review of qualitative evidence”
  • Mary Shenk: “Social support, nutrition, and health among women in rural Bangladesh: complex tradeoffs in alloparenting, kin proximity, and social network size”
  • Robert Hughes: “Who actually cares for children in slums? Why we need to think, and do, more about paid childcare in urbanising sub-Saharan Africa”
  • Masahito Morita: “How do parental psychological condition and parenting behaviour mediate associations between childcare support and child social development in Japan?”
  • Ryan Schacht: “Was Cinderella Just a Fairy Tale? Survival Differences between Stepchildren and their Half-Siblings”
17.30 – 18.15: Panel discussion

Following a ten-minute break, we will resume with a panel discussion with those listed below and speakers from the previous session.


Abigail E. Page


  • Kirsty Budds 
  • Jenny McLeish
  • Lee Gettler 
  • Rebecca Sear 
  • Marina Daniele
18.15: Virtual social event and networking 

Details will be shared during the seminar

Please note that the recording link will be listed on this page when available


Follow webinar link. Free and open to all. No registration required.