Postpartum anxiety and adjustment disorders in parents of infants with very low birth weight: Cross-sectional results from a controlled multicentre cohort study

Nadine Helle, Claus Barkmann, Stephan Ehrhardt, Axel Von Der Wense, Yvonne Nestoriuc, Carola Bindt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background Both preterm delivery and survival rates of very low birth weight (VLBW: <1500 g) infants are increasing. To date, the focus on studies about postpartum mental health after preterm birth has been on depression and on women. There is a paucity of research regarding prevalence, risks, and predictors of postpartum anxiety in parents after VLBW birth. Methods Parents with VLBW infants and parents with term infants were recruited into the longitudinal HaFEn-study at the three largest centers of perinatal care in Hamburg, Germany. State anxiety was assessed with the State-Trait-Anxiety Inventory and anxiety and adjustment disorders with a clinical interview one month postpartum. Psychiatric lifetime diagnoses, social support, trait anxiety, stress during birth, socioeconomic status, risks during pregnancy, and mode of delivery were also evaluated. To examine predictors of postpartum state anxiety in both parents simultaneously a multiple random coefficient model was used. Results 230 mothers and 173 fathers were included. The risk for minor/major anxiety symptoms and adjustment disorders was higher in parents with VLBW infants compared to the term group. The risk for anxiety disorders was not higher in parents with VLBW infants. The most important predictors for postpartum state anxiety were high trait anxiety, the birth of a VLBW infant, high stress during birth, and low social support. Limitations Data reported here are cross-sectional. Thus, temporal relationships cannot be established. Conclusions Our results emphasize the importance of early screening for postpartum anxiety in both parents with VLBW infants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)128-134
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Volume194
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016

Keywords

  • Maternal/paternal
  • Postpartum anxiety
  • Preterm birth
  • Risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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