1. Oweis, Arwa

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Grant, A., McMahon, C., & Austin, M. (2008). Journal of Affective Disorders, 108, 101-111.


The purpose of this longitudinal study was to examine the course of maternal anxiety across the transition to parenthood. One hundred women in Sydney, Australia were recruited to participate in the study. An antenatal screening instrument identified half the sample as being at "high risk" for developing postnatal anxiety or depression or both. Screening was done with the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory during the third trimester of pregnancy and the Mini-Plus International Neuropsychiatric Interview version 5.0.0 during pregnancy and in the seventh postpartum month. Symptoms of maternal depression were assessed using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. Findings of the study indicated that anxiety and depression were stable from pregnancy through 7 months after birth and that antenatal anxiety meeting diagnostic criteria and self-reported trait anxiety was comparable and was a reliable predictor of postnatal anxiety and depression. The results suggested that women with an antenatal anxiety disorder or women reporting elevated levels of self-reported trait anxiety were significantly more likely to meet diagnostic criteria for an anxiety or mood disorder during the 7 months after birth. Healthcare professionals should take into consideration the importance of considering anxiety when examining psychological adjustment to pregnancy and the transition to parenthood. Healthcare professionals, including nurses and midwives, should also have adequate training on how to identify mothers at risk for developing anxiety and mood disturbances during the postnatal period and refer them for appropriate and timely treatment to ease their transition to parenthood. They also can train mothers on how to deal with their stress, anxiety, and mood disturbances, especially while they are raising their families.


Arwa Oweis

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