The effect of postnatal symptoms of post-traumatic stress and depression on the couple’s relationship and parent-baby bond

Parfitt, Y. & Ayers, S. (2009). The effect of postnatal symptoms of post-traumatic stress and depression on the couple’s relationship and parent-baby bond. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology, 27(2), pp. 127-142. doi: 10.1080/02646830802350831

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Abstract

Objectives: Research has shown that between 1 and 3% of women may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following childbirth. However, the potential effect of childbirth on fathers, and the implications of post-natal symptoms of PTSD for family relationships, have received little attention. The current study therefore examined the potential effects of PTSD symptoms on the couple's relationship and parent-baby bond. Design: Internet-based questionnaire study. Methods: One hundred and fifty-two parents (126 women and 26 men) completed questionnaire measures of PTSD, depression, quality of the couple's relationship, and the parent-baby bond. Results: Symptoms of PTSD and depression were significantly correlated with the couples' relationship and parent-baby bond. Structural equation modelling found the model that best fitted the data was one where PTSD symptoms had a direct effect on the parent-baby bond, but the effect of PTSD on the couples' relationship was mediated by depression. Conclusions: The results indicate the importance of examining the psychological reactions of men and women after birth; and suggest that symptoms of PTSD have an effect on the parent-baby bond. However, methodological considerations mean further research is needed to replicate and extend this study before firm conclusions can be drawn.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: childbirth; post-natal depression; PTSD; parent-baby bond; couple's relationship
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RG Gynecology and obstetrics
Divisions: School of Health Sciences > Department of Child Health & Children's Nursing
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/1998

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