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Perceived stress and anxiety among Ghanaian pregnant women

A Boakye-Yiadom
SO Shittu
JB Dutt
PPM Dapare
A Alhassan


The aim of the study was to assess the prevalence of stress and anxiety, as well as the association that exists between stress/anxiety and sociodemographic characteristics, among pregnant women at the Tamale West Hospital in Ghana. This study was conducted among 154 pregnant women vis-iting the Tamale West hospital for antenatal care, from March to May, 2015. All participants were evaluated using a Self-designed semi-structured questionnaire for socio-demographic information, the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) for stress assessment and State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) for assessment of anxiety. The response rate was 96.3%, with an age range of 17-42. Whereas 43.5% of the studied population were illiterate, 24.0% had attained basic education, 21.4% had attained secondary education while only 11.0% had attained tertiary educa-tion. Most of the studied participants were unemployed (57.8%), with a mean ± s.d. income level of Ghc 103.4±207.9. Almost all of them were married (96.8%) with mean ± s.d. marriage duration of 6.2±4.8 years, mean ± s.d. number of birth of 1.7±1.4 as well as mean ± s.d. gestation week of 21.3±10.9 weeks. Almost all the pregnant women had no complication in the current pregnancy (99.4%) as well as in their previous pregnancy (96.1%). The mean ± s.d. of anxiety score as well as stress score from the studied population were 15.3±3.2 and 13.2±4.9 respectively. The prevalence of anxiety was 9.7% whiles that for stress among these studied participants was 28.6%. Higher propor-tion (26.6%) of educated women had anxiety disorders with a lower (21.9±10.8) mean gestation peri-od being associated with anxiety disorders. Age was higher (28.1±5.8; p=0.0155) in women with pregnancy specific stress than in normal women (25.0±7.9). A higher proportion of women who were married (99.1%; 0.0097) were normal as compared to those who had pregnancy stress (90.9%). Mean number of births was seen to be higher among normal women (4.3±5.9; 0.0054) than those with stress (1.8±1.4). This study reiterates the rising levels of pregnancy specific stress and anxiety, with social and medical factors such as literacy levels, gestational period, age, marital status and parity playing major roles in the determination of pregnancy related stress and anxiety levels.

Keywords: Mood disorder, ante-natal, gestational week, risk factors, Ghana