The relationship between maternal attitudes and symptoms of depression and anxiety among pregnant and postpartum first-time mothers

Archives of Women s Mental Health (Impact Factor: 2.16). 03/2014; 17(3). DOI: 10.1007/s00737-014-0424-9
Source: PubMed


Two studies examined the relationship between maternal attitudes and symptoms of depression and anxiety during pregnancy and the early postpartum period. In the first study, a measure of maternal attitudes, the Attitudes Toward Motherhood Scale (AToM), was developed and validated in a sample of first-time mothers. The AToM was found to have good internal reliability and convergent validity with cognitive biases and an existing measure of maternal attitudes. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses determined that the measure comprises three correlated factors: beliefs about others' judgments, beliefs about maternal responsibility, and maternal role idealization. In the second study, we used the AToM to assess the relationship between maternal attitudes and other psychological variables. The factor structure of the measure was confirmed. Maternal attitudes predicted symptoms of depression and anxiety, and these attitudes had incremental predictive validity over general cognitive biases and interpersonal risk factors. Overall, the results of these studies suggest that maternal attitudes are related to psychological distress among first-time mothers during the transition to parenthood and may provide a useful means of identifying women who may benefit from intervention during the perinatal period.

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Available from: Jacques P. Barber, Apr 13, 2015
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    ABSTRACT: The Attitudes Toward Motherhood (AToM) Scale was developed to assess women's beliefs about motherhood, a specific risk factor for emotional distress in perinatal populations. As the measure was initially developed and validated for use among first-time mothers, this study assessed the reliability and validity of the AToM Scale in a sample of multiparous women. Maternal attitudes were significantly associated with symptoms of depression, even after controlling for demographic, cognitive, and interpersonal risk factors. Maternal attitudes were also associated with symptoms of anxiety after controlling for demographic risk factors, but this association was not significant after accounting for cognitive and interpersonal risk factors. Compared to primiparous women from the initial validation study of the AToM Scale, multiparous women reported lower levels of social support and marital satisfaction. The relationships between cognitive and interpersonal risk factors and symptoms of depression and anxiety were comparable between multiparous and primiparous women.
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