Vulnerability to postpartum depressive symptomatology: Dependency, self-criticism and the moderating role of antenatal attachment

Beatriz Priel, Avi Besser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations

Abstract

A prospective study of self-criticism and dependency as vulnerability factors to postpartum depressive symptoms in a non-clinical sample is presented. Prospective mother's attachment to the unborn baby was hypothesized to moderate the effects of the personality vulnerability factors on depression. Seventy-three first pregnancy subjects were assessed during the third trimester of pregnancy and 8 weeks postpartum. Controlling for Time 1 depression, findings support the assumption that self-criticism measured at Time 1 predicted postpartum depression. In addition, antenatal attachment scores were found to moderate this personality vulnerability: highly self-critical subjects' risk for depression was lowered if they became strongly attached to the fetus during pregnancy. Dependency was not found to be associated with postpartum depressive symptoms. Results are analyzed in the framework of Blatt's theory of depression and underscore the interaction between personality vulnerabilities and cultural aspects of childbirth and maternal role.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)240-253
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Social and Clinical Psychology
Volume18
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

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