The relationship between maternal attitudes and symptoms of depression and anxiety among pregnant and postpartum first-time mothers
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- Sockol, L.E., Epperson, C.N. & Barber, J.P. Arch Womens Ment Health (2014) 17: 199. doi:10.1007/s00737-014-0424-9
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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.