Predictors of distress and anxiety during pregnancy
Objective: There is a high incidence of distressing psychological symptoms including anxiety in pregnancy. Nevertheless, predictors of distress and anxiety during pregnancy have not been well characterized. We determined whether temperament and character, trait anxiety, resilience, and social support predicted distress and anxiety symptoms in pregnancy.
Method: Pregnant women (n=105) with low risk singleton pregnancies were recruited from Midwife Obstetric Units. Assessments of distress (using
the K-10) and anxiety (using the Spielberger State Inventory) were undertaken in trimester 2 and 3. Measures of temperament and character, trait anxiety, resilience and social support were undertaken at the same time points. Regression analyses were used to determine predictors of distress and anxiety at each trimester.
Results: Predictors of distress and anxiety were lower selfdirectedness,
higher harm avoidance, higher trait anxiety, lower resilience, and lower social support, at each time point.
Conclusion: Understanding predictors of distress and anxiety in pregnancy may be useful in developing interventions for addressing such symptoms, as well as perhaps in preventing potential sequelae such as anxiety and mood disorders.
Keywords: Distress; Anxiety; Self-directedness; Harm avoidance; Resilience; Social support