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Health anxiety, death anxiety and coronaphobia: Predictors of postpartum depression symptomatology during the COVID-19 pandemic

Andrei, A-M., Webb, R. ORCID: 0000-0002-8862-6491 & Enea, V. (2023). Health anxiety, death anxiety and coronaphobia: Predictors of postpartum depression symptomatology during the COVID-19 pandemic. Midwifery, 124, article number 103747. doi: 10.1016/j.midw.2023.103747


Objective: To determine levels of postpartum depression symptoms and possible relevant predictors, such as death anxiety, health anxiety, and coronavirus-related anxiety.
Design: Cross-sectional web-based survey using quantitative methods.
Setting: Exclusively online recruiting via social media and unpaid cross-posting conducted during the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Romania.
Participants: Women were eligible to take part in the study if they were mothers over the age of 18 and had a baby aged between 4 weeks – 12 months of age; 1024 women were included in the final sample.
Measurements and findings: Health anxiety, death anxiety, coronavirus-related anxiety, and postpartum depression symptoms were measured using validated instruments. Current depression symptomatology was 67.6%, 26.7% scored above the cut-off for high health anxiety, 1% for coronavirus-related anxiety, and 62.7% for death anxiety. Significant predictors for depressive symptomatology were breastfeeding, history of depression, family income, number of children, health anxiety, death anxiety, and coronavirus anxiety. Further, hierarchical multiple regression analysis indicated that death anxiety, health anxiety, and coronavirus anxiety predicted postpartum depression symptoms over and above socio-demographic factors.
Key conclusions: Supported by previous studies, our results suggest that postpartum depression symptomatology levels during the COVID-19 pandemic are high and that they are predicted by health and death anxiety, which are also increased during the pandemic.
Implication for practice: The findings provide information to identify the risk for depression symptoms in postpartum mothers during acute public health situations.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2023. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Publisher Keywords: Health anxiety, Death anxiety, Coronavirus anxiety, Postpartum depression symptomatology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Midwifery & Radiography
SWORD Depositor:
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