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Title: Assessment of perinatal mental health problems
Author: Coates, Rose
ISNI:       0000 0004 6061 7950
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 2017
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Mental health problems in pregnancy and the postnatal period can have long-term negative effects on women and their children. A key barrier to helping women in this period is the low level of identification of mental health problems. Depression has commonly been screened for using the Whooley Questions or Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) but women may experience a broad range of symptoms of distress not captured by these measures. The research reported in this dissertation was designed to address several aims. The first strand aimed to explore women's experiences of postnatal mental health problems and how they conceptualise their symptoms. The focus of the first qualitative study was the lived experience of 17 women who had experienced psychological distress in the first postnatal year, and used interpretative phenomenological analysis. The second qualitative study used thematic analysis with the same sample to explore different symptoms of distress and women's experiences of being assessed for these. The second strand reviewed and evaluated currently existing measures of commonly reported affective symptoms with a view to informing future assessment. A systematic review found a lack of measures of anxiety designed for or validated sufficiently with perinatal women. Factor analyses of the EPDS then explored the structure of depression and anxiety symptoms in the perinatal period in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (N = 11,195 – 12,166). Results suggested symptom clusters of anhedonia, depression and anxiety. Finally, validity of the CORE-10, a short measure of psychological distress was evaluated in a sample of 366 pregnant women. The CORE-10 showed promising psychometric properties. Anxiety was the most reported symptom. Overall findings suggest that perinatal women need to be assessed for a variety of mental health problems and that further work is needed to identify the most effective assessment tool and process.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: RC0537 Depression ; RG0500 Obstetrics ; RJ0125 Physiology of children and adolescents