Archives of Women's Mental Health

, Volume 12, Issue 6, pp 409–418 | Cite as

Maternally focused worry

  • Jane Phillips
  • Louise Sharpe
  • Stephen Matthey
  • Margaret Charles
Original Contribution


Emerging evidence suggests that many women in the postnatal period experience clinically significant levels of anxiety but do not meet full diagnostic criteria for an existing anxiety disorder. In this study, 167 women with infants aged 2 weeks to 12 months were interviewed for current and lifetime history of depression and anxiety disorders using the SCID-I and completed a range of self-report measures measuring psychological risk factors and current depressive and anxiety symptomatology. Qualitative comments provided by women diagnosed with ADNOS (maternally focused worry) were analyzed and themes identified, and independent t-tests and chi-square tests were conducted to compare differences between these women and women with GAD. Results showed (1) there to be almost as many women who met criteria for ADNOS (maternally focused worry) as met criteria for GAD, and (2) that women with maternally focused worry were indistinguishable from women with GAD in terms of anxiety and depressive symptom severity, functional impairment and a range of risk factors. These results highlight the status of maternally focused worry as an under-recognized phenomenon and one in need of further clinical and research attention.


Anxiety disorders Parenting Postpartum period Worry Generalized anxiety disorder 



This work was supported by Karitane and a National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (NHMRC) Public Health Scholarship.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jane Phillips
    • 1
    • 2
  • Louise Sharpe
    • 1
  • Stephen Matthey
    • 3
  • Margaret Charles
    • 1
  1. 1.University of SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.KaritaneVillawoodAustralia
  3. 3.Sydney South West Area Health ServiceLiverpoolAustralia

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