Risk Factors in the Development of Postnatal Anxiety Symptomatology

Felter, Elisabeth (2013) Risk Factors in the Development of Postnatal Anxiety Symptomatology. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Objectives: Research into postpartum psychopathology has focused largely on
depression and only more recently has it been recognised that postnatal anxiety
requires its own systematic research. As yet, only a limited number of studies have
investigated interpersonal risk factors in relation to postnatal anxiety. This study
aimed to further investigate the role of these factors by using a prospective design
and standardised measures. Attachment theory is presented as a theoretical
framework. It has been debated whether anxiety symptoms in the postpartum should
be understood as a feature of postnatal depression, or as a separate clinical entity.
This study used the DASS-21, a measure with good discriminant validity, to enable
comparison of the risk factors in relation to depression and anxiety symptomatology.
Design: Using a prospective design, 81 women were assessed in the third trimester
of pregnancy and at approximately 12 weeks postpartum. At Time 1 participants
completed measures of social support, relationship satisfaction, adult attachment
anxiety, and experiences of parents in childhood. At Time 2 postnatal anxiety and
depression symptomatology was assessed.
Results: Significant associations were found between postnatal anxiety
symptomatology and the majority of the interpersonal variables. In regression
analyses these explained 12% of the variance in postnatal anxiety symptomatology.
A similar pattern of associations was found for postnatal depression
symptomatology, but only 6% of the variance in scores was explained.
Conclusions: Despite limitations, this study provides preliminary evidence of the
contribution of interpersonal risk factors to the development of postnatal anxiety
symptomatology, and support for the attachment theory perspective. This indicates
the potential importance of interventions that focus on interpersonal relationships. A
low rate of comorbidity with depression symptomatology, and differences in the
regression models, appear to support the view of postnatal anxiety and depression as
being distinct but closely related. Further research is needed with more
representative samples.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Norwich Medical School
Depositing User: Users 2259 not found.
Date Deposited: 05 Mar 2014 10:01
Last Modified: 05 Mar 2014 10:01
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/47903


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