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Title: Exploratory analysis of intrusive thoughts in a community sample of mothers with young infants
Author: Woodward, Tara L.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2005
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Aim: To explore the phenomenon of intrusive thoughts in relation to mood variables such as depression, anxiety and obsessional tendencies in a community sample of mothers with young infants. Method: Forty-eight mothers were assessed on measures of depression, anxiety and obsessionality at approximately 35 weeks gestation and then postnatally at 4-6 weeks. The intrusive thoughts were assessed for content, form, frequency, intensity and dismissability. The relationships between all dependent variables were assessed. Results: Intrusive thoughts of infant harm were very common in this sample and those who experienced intrusive thoughts in general prenatally, tended to experience them postnatally. Frequency, intensity and dismissability of the thoughts were all related. The participants generally did not experience large increases in depression, anxiety or obsessionality postpartum. Prenatally, levels of depressive symptoms and state anxiety were both associated with difficulty in dismissing the thoughts. At postnatal assessment those who had higher scores on the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale and the State/Trait Anxiety Inventory had more frequent thoughts, experienced them more intensely and had more difficulty in dismissing them. Those participants who responded to the thoughts experienced more postnatal anxiety and negative emotion. Discussion: Pregnancy and childbirth did not significantly raise levels of anxiety, depression and obsessionality in this community sample. However the experience of distressing intrusive thoughts of infant harm is quite common and rarely discussed by health professional in contact with expectant mothers. Methodological strengths and weaknesses are examined, in particular the lack of a standardisation for measuring intrusive thoughts.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available