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Title: Psychological vulnerability to postnatal depressive symptomatology.
Author: Hipwell, Alison E.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3579 0178
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2000
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Depressive disorders arising in the postnatal period can affect 10-16% of women and there is growing evidence for a range of adverse consequences for the mother and her child long after the symptoms may have remitted. Nevertheless, reliably detecting women who may be at risk of depression following childbirth continues to be problematic to health care workers. Drawing on a diathesis-stress model, the current study used a prospective design to investigate cognitive factors that might indicate a vulnerability to postnatal depressive symptomatology. A cohort of nulliparous pregnant women were recruited from antenatal clinics and parentcraft classes. They were interviewed during the third trimester of pregnancy when assessments of social support, mood, early experience of maternal behaviour, and neurotic personality traits were carried out. In addition, three sets of cognitive measures were included in this interview: the specificity of autobiographical recall, the nature of self-discrepancies, and self-devaluation. Ninety-four women without mental health problems at the time of the baseline assessment were followed up at two weeks and at two months post-delivery, when they were asked to complete measures relating to their mood. It was hypothesised that the cognitive characteristics would predict mood score at 2 months postpartum (Time 3), but not at the earlier follow-up stage of 2 weeks (Time 2) when biologicaVhormonal factors were believed to playa predominant role in aetiology. It was also hypothesised that these factors would mediate the relationship between both early experience and personality style, and postnatal mood. The results showed that the degree of self-devaluation, and low specificity of autobiographical recall, predicted depressive symptoms at Time 3, and that selfdevaluation also mediated the effects of early experience and neuroticism on postnatal mood. Self-discrepancy scores were not found to be useful in predicting subsequent levels of depression in the current sample. The clinical implications of these findings for the detection and prevention of postnatal depressed mood are discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Depression; Women