About the BIMF

The Barkin Index of Maternal Functioning (BIMF) is a 20-item self-report measure that was designed to assess overall functioning in the context of new motherhood.  The measure can be completed by the patient or administered by a clinician, depending on the setting.  The functional domains of social support, management, mother-child interaction, infant care, self-care, adjustment, and psychological well-being (of the mother) are addressed by the BIMF.  The measure is unique in that it is the first patient-centered tool to assess postpartum functional status. In this case, “patient-centered” implies a grass roots approach to conceptualizing the functional spectrum and item development.  Three large focus groups were conducted in order to ascertain what poor and optimal maternal functioning look like from those most qualified to define the experience – new mothers. We found that in probing the experience of daily functioning, women were quite candidate in explaining how they managed the juggling of multiple roles (mother, daughter, wife, employee, community member, etc.) while caring for an infant. We found that women were most conflicted in the area of self-care in the context of parenting; self-care is a focus of the BIMF.

‘‘the goal of medical care for most patients today is to
obtain a more ‘effective life’ and to preserve functioning
and well-being’’

~Ware, Kosinski & Keller (1996)

The measure is easily administered, only taking about 5 minutes to complete, and the items were designed to accommodate a 7th grade reading level. It is also quickly scored.  After reverse-scoring items 16 and 18 (see scoring and usage tab for details), a total score is derived by summing the answers across all 20 items.

Timeframe for use:  The BIMF was developed for use in the 12 months following childbirth.  However, most, if not all, of the questionnaire items are also appropriate for young toddlers.   A modification of the BIMF is also available for caregivers of school-aged children (see Translations & Modifications tab).

To date, the BIMF has been used in academia, clinical settings, community-based settings and in industry-sponsored research.  Some examples of usage across each category:

  1. The BIMF was administered to participants in the Lauren & Mark Rubin Visiting Moms® program of Jewish Family & Children Service in Waltham, Massachusetts to assess maternal functioning at program intake and program completion. (community-based)
  2. The BIMF was utilized as a secondary outcomes measure in a series of clinical trials for the first pharmacologic treatment formulated specifically for the treatment of post-partum depression. The trials were conducted by Sage Therapeutics, Inc. Read more about the Sage Therapeutics trials.  (industry-sponsored)
  3. The BIMF is being administered alongside the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale at Tanner Healthcare for Women in Villa Rica, Georgia by Dr. Tiffany Stanfill (Ob/Gyn). (clinical)
  4. The BIMF was used to measure maternal functioning in a study where psychosocial outcomes were compared in women participating in group versus individual prenatal care (Heberlein et al., 2016). (academic/research)

For use in clinical settings, the developer currently recommends using the BIMF in tandem with validated instruments that measure depression and anxiety for a well-rounded assessment of maternal mental/emotional wellness.  While the BIMF addresses the domains of social support, management, mother-child interaction, infant care, self-care, adjustment and psychological well-being of the mother it does not directly evaluate feelings of sadness and panic, frequency of crying/laughing/self-blame or thoughts of self-harm that are typically captured through depression evaluation.

To learn more about local moms experiencing mental health issues, read the following article here. (https://wgxa.tv/news/local/new-moms-may-experience-range-of-mental-health-issues)