Sarah Myers

Sarah Myers
University of Bristol | UB · Department of Anthropology and Archaeology

Doctor of Philosophy

About

26
Publications
1,852
Reads
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141
Citations
Introduction
Sarah Myers is currently a Senior Teaching Assistant in Biological Anthropology at UCL Anthropology and a guest member of the BirthRites Independent Max Planck Research Group at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. Sarah does research in postnatal depression, maternal investment, and evolutionary demography.
Additional affiliations
November 2021 - June 2022
University College London
Position
  • Lecturer
September 2020 - August 2022
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Position
  • PostDoc Position
Description
  • Member of the BirthRites Independent Research Group
October 2017 - present
University College London
Position
  • Research Associate
Education
September 2012 - December 2016
University of Kent
Field of study
  • Biological Anthropology
September 2009 - August 2011
The Open University (UK)
Field of study
  • Mental Health
September 2004 - June 2005
University of Cambridge
Field of study
  • Biological Anthropology

Publications

Publications (26)
Preprint
Full-text available
There is significant evidence from large-scale, industrial and post-industrial societies that greater inequality in income and wealth are negatively associated with both population health across multiple domains and increasing health inequalities. However, in high-income Western societies, it is difficult to disentangle the effects of wealth dispar...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background: Social support in all forms is essential in maintaining breast/chest-feeding and helping to improve general infant feeding experience among parents. With breastfeeding durations notably short in the UK, the question of the effectiveness and quality of support for infant feeding comes to the fore. Current literature suggests that togethe...
Conference Paper
Background Postnatal depression (PND) is highly detrimental for both mother and baby, with a pre-COVID-19 estimated prevalence of up to 23% in Europe. Low social support is a key risk factor for developing PND. Social distancing measures designed to limit COVID-19 transmission likely created unprecedented barriers for mothers to access social suppo...
Preprint
Mounting evidence indicates the mental health of postnatal mothers suffered during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Using a four-wave online survey of United Kingdom mothers we explore the continuing trajectory of postnatal depressive symptoms. During the first lockdown 47.5% of mothers (n=162) met the ≥11 Edinburgh Postnatal Depression S...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives Physical breastfeeding problems can lead women to terminate breastfeeding earlier than planned. In high-income countries such as the UK, breastfeeding problems have been attributed to the cultural and individual “inexperience” of breastfeeding, ultimately leading to lower breastfeeding rates. Yet, cross-cultural evidence suggests breastf...
Article
Full-text available
Postnatal/postpartum depression (PND/PPD) had a pre-COVID-19 estimated prevalence ranging up to 23% in Europe, 33% in Australia, and 64% in America, and is detrimental to both mothers and their infants. Low social support is a key risk factor for developing PND. From an evolutionary perspective this is perhaps unsurprising, as humans evolved as coo...
Article
Full-text available
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 dominant conceptualizations of support have been heavily influenced by Western family norms. The consequence, at best, has been to stifle our understanding of the nature and consequence...
Article
Social support is a known determinant of breastfeeding behaviour and is generally considered beneficial. However, social support encompasses a myriad of different supportive acts, providing scope for diverse infant feeding outcomes. Given the vulnerability of postpartum mental health, this paper aims to explore both how support prolongs breastfeedi...
Preprint
Full-text available
Postnatal/postpartum depression (PND/PPD) had a pre-covid estimated prevalence ranging up to 23% in Europe, 33% in Australia, and 64% in America, and is detrimental to both mothers and their infants. Low social support is a key risk factor for developing PND. From an evolutionary perspective this is perhaps unsurprising, as humans evolved as cooper...
Preprint
Social support is a known determinant of breastfeeding behaviour and is generally considered beneficial. However, social support encompasses a myriad of different supportive acts, providing scope for diverse consequences. Given the vulnerability of postpartum mental health, it is crucial to understand not only how support prolongs breastfeeding, bu...
Preprint
Full-text available
Objectives: Physical breastfeeding problems can lead women to terminate breastfeeding earlier than planned. In high-income countries, breastfeeding problems have been attributed to the cultural and individual “inexperience” of breastfeeding, ultimately leading to lower breastfeeding rates. Yet, cross-cultural evidence suggests breastfeeding problem...
Article
Full-text available
Local physical and social environmental factors are important drivers of human health and behaviour. Environmental perception has been linked with both reproduction and parenting, but links between subjective environmental experiences and breastfeeding remain unclear. Using retrospective data from an online survey of UK mothers of children aged 0–2...
Article
Full-text available
We welcome the comments by Harpur and Haddon (2020) on our paper on the typologies of social support and its associations with breastfeeding at two months in a UK sample. We share their concerns around the under-acknowledged costs of breastfeeding, and the need for a truly family-centred approach to breastfeeding support. However, they are mistaken...
Article
Full-text available
There is extensive evidence to suggest that social support improves breastfeeding outcomes. Building on this evidence-base, public health services and interventions aiming to improve breastfeeding rates have primarily targeted informational and emotional support to mothers, reflecting an individual behaviour-change approach. However, mothers exist...
Preprint
Extensive evidence suggests that social support improves breastfeeding outcomes. Building on this evidence-base, public health services and interventions with aims to improve breastfeeding rates have focused on providing informational and emotional support to mothers. However, mothers presumably exist within a wider social network, and the characte...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Mother and infant health have long been under a spotlight, with an array of institutions and agencies targeting the mother-child unit to improve population outcomes. However, mothers and their children do not exist in a vacuum, and other actors provide mothers with essential support. Indeed, the discourse on mother-child health increasingly acknowl...
Article
Full-text available
Male-biased sex ratios have been observed in multiple small-scale societies. Although intentional and systematic female-biased mortality has been posited as an explanation, there is often a lack of ethnographic evidence of systematic female neglect and/or infanticide. The Agta, a foraging population from the Philippines, have a skewed sex ratio of...
Preprint
Full-text available
Male-biased sex ratios have been observed in multiple small-scale societies. Although intentional and systematic female-biased mortality has been posited as an explanation, there is often a lack of ethnographic evidence of systematic female neglect and/or infanticide. The Agta, a foraging population from the Philippines, have a skewed sex ratio of...
Article
Rationale: A growing body of literature links both depressive symptoms generally, and those specifically in the postnatal period, with an inflammatory immune response. Evolutionary medical approaches, such as the Pathogen Host Defence Theory of Depression (PATHOS-D), have likened depression to sickness behaviour in other mammals, and propose that...
Article
Full-text available
Postnatal depression (PND) is known to be associated with a range of detrimental child and adolescent outcomes, resulting from its disruptive impact on mother-child relationship quality. However, until now little has been known about the impact of PND on the longer-term relationships between mothers and their children, and any intergenerational eff...
Article
Full-text available
Background and objectives: Postnatal depression (PND) presents a puzzling phenomenon to evolutionary anthropologists as it is highly prevalent and yet detrimental to child development and maternal health. Adaptive explanations have been proposed, but have not been tested with data that directly link PND to female fertility. Methodology: A survey...

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Projects

Projects (2)
Project
By taking an evolutionary approach to postnatal depression, this project aims to more fully understand the consequences of the condition and to identify novel risk factors to aid prevention.
Project
The project investigates the kinds of support mothers of infants receive, and the impact this has on maternal experience and infant feeding. Findings will contribute to public health understandings of how best to support mothers during the first few years of their children’s lives.