Assessment of perinatal mental health problems

Coates, Rose (2017) Assessment of perinatal mental health problems. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

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.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neurosciences. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry > RC0438 Psychiatry > RC0512 Psychopathology > RC0530 Neuroses > RC0537 Depression
R Medicine > RG Gynecology and obstetrics > RG0500 Obstetrics
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics > RJ0125 Physiology of children and adolescents
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 14 Mar 2017 10:19
Last Modified: 14 Mar 2017 10:19
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/67082

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