Pregnancy anxiety: A systematic review of current scales

Journal article


Brunton, Robyn, Dryer, Rachel, Saliba, Anthony and Kohlhoff, Jane. (2015) Pregnancy anxiety: A systematic review of current scales. Journal of Affective Disorders. 176, pp. 24 - 34. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2015.01.039
AuthorsBrunton, Robyn, Dryer, Rachel, Saliba, Anthony and Kohlhoff, Jane
Abstract

Background
Depression in pregnancy is a serious health issue; however, anxiety in pregnancy, with a reported higher prevalence, may also be a serious issue. Anxiety symptoms in pregnancy can relate to several anxiety types, such as general anxiety, anxiety disorders, and pregnancy-related anxiety (PrA), anxiety characterised by pregnancy specific fears and worries. Awareness of these distinctions however, is not always widespread. Both general anxiety and PrA are associated with maternal negative outcomes (e.g. increased nausea) however; PrA is more often associated with negative outcomes for the child (e.g. preterm birth). Furthermore, PrA is potentially a risk factor for postnatal depression with assessment of PrA potentially affording important intervention opportunities. Currently several different instruments are used for PrA however their psychometric properties are unclear. To our knowledge a review of current instruments and their psychometric properties is lacking, this paper aims to fill that gap.
Methods
Studies, which assessed PrA, published between 1983 and 2013 in peer-reviewed journals, were identified.
Results
Sixty studies were identified after applying inclusion/exclusion criteria, and classified as: pregnancy-related anxiety specific, scales for other constructs, sub scales of another instrument and general anxiety scales. Each scale׳s strengths and limitations were discussed.
Limitations
Our findings may be limited by restricting our review to peer-reviewed journals. This was done however as we sought to identify scales with good psychometric properties.
Conclusions
Currently no scales are available for pregnancy-related anxiety with sound theoretical and psychometric properties. Clinically the need for such a scale is highlighted by the potential intervention opportunities this may afford. Future research should be directed towards the development of such a scale.

KeywordsAnxiety; Pregnancy-related anxiety; Antenatal; Prenatal; MaternalScales
Year2015
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Journal citation176, pp. 24 - 34
PublisherElsevier BV
ISSN0165-0327
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2015.01.039
Scopus EID2-s2.0-84922751313
Page range24 - 34
Research GroupSchool of Philosophy
Publisher's version
File Access Level
Controlled
Place of publicationNetherlands
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