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Pregnancy and levels of depression and anxiety: a prospective cohort study of Australian women

Leach, L. S.; Christensen, H.; Mackinnon, A.

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OBJECTIVES:The effects of pregnancy on depression and anxiety remain unclear. Previous research is predominantly cross-sectional, not representative of the general community, and does not include data on mental health prior to pregnancy. This study used longitudinal Australian population-based data to examine whether pregnancy is associated with increases in women's anxiety and depression levels (from pre-pregnancy).METHOD: A community sample of Australian women aged 20-24 years were recruited...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorLeach, L. S.
dc.contributor.authorChristensen, H.
dc.contributor.authorMackinnon, A.
dc.date.accessioned2015-03-05T01:15:37Z
dc.date.available2015-03-05T01:15:37Z
dc.identifier.issn0004-8674
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/12814
dc.description.abstractOBJECTIVES:The effects of pregnancy on depression and anxiety remain unclear. Previous research is predominantly cross-sectional, not representative of the general community, and does not include data on mental health prior to pregnancy. This study used longitudinal Australian population-based data to examine whether pregnancy is associated with increases in women's anxiety and depression levels (from pre-pregnancy).METHOD: A community sample of Australian women aged 20-24 years were recruited prospectively and assessed in 1999, 2003 and 2007. At the follow-up assessments 76 women were pregnant (with no prior children) and 542 remained nulliparous. Mixed models repeated measures analyses of variance were undertaken to compare change in levels of anxiety and depression (Goldberg Anxiety and Depression scales) between those who became pregnant and those who remained non-pregnant. RESULTS: Pregnancy was not associated with increased symptoms of depression or anxiety. No association was found with depression, while pregnancy was associated with a decrease in anxiety. Including somatic items in the measures of depression and anxiety resulted in higher symptom levels in pregnancy, suggesting possible item bias. CONCLUSIONS: This study is one of the first to follow a community sample of women from pre-pregnancy to pregnancy. The findings suggest that pregnancy is not typically detrimental to women's mental health. The current study offers a starting point for future prospective studies to follow women from pre-pregnancy to postpartum. Study limitations to be improved upon in follow-up research include expanding the sample size, and including both pregnancy-specific measures and trimester-specific data. Future research should continue to identify those women who are most (and least) at risk during pregnancy in order to target resources and assistance most effectively.
dc.description.sponsorshipThis research was funded through a grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council nhmrc ID:1035803.
dc.format8 pages
dc.publisherSage publications
dc.rights© The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists 2014
dc.sourceAustralian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry
dc.subjectAntenatal
dc.subjectanxiety
dc.subjectdepression
dc.subjectlongitudinal
dc.subjectpregnancy
dc.subjectprospective
dc.titlePregnancy and levels of depression and anxiety: a prospective cohort study of Australian women
dc.typeJournal article
local.identifier.citationvolume48
dc.date.issued2014-10
local.identifier.absfor110000 - MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES
local.identifier.ariespublicationU3488905xPUB5096
local.publisher.urlhttp://www.uk.sagepub.com/
local.type.statusAccepted Version
local.contributor.affiliationLeach, Liana Sarma, Psychiatric Epidemiology and Social Issues Unit, Centre for Research on Ageing, Health and Wellbeing, The Australian National University
dc.relationhttp://purl.org/au-research/grants/nhmrc/1035803
local.identifier.essn1440-1614
local.bibliographicCitation.issue10
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage944
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage951
local.identifier.doi10.1177/0004867414533013
dc.date.updated2015-12-11T09:23:35Z
local.identifier.scopusID2-s2.0-84906215406
local.identifier.thomsonID000342768500007
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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