Factors associated with psychological distress among Australian women during pregnancy

Hayley M. McDonald*, Kerry A. Sherman, Nadine A. Kasparian

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Growing evidence links adult attachment style, mindfulness, and emotion dysregulation with depression and anxiety. Little is known about the nature of association between these variables during the pregnancy, a period of significant stress. This cross-sectional study aimed to test associations between attachment style, mindfulness, emotion regulation and psychological distress during pregnancy, and delineate the relative contribution to maternal experiences of pregnancy-specific anxiety compared with general anxiety and depressive symptoms. Methods: Two-hundred and thirty-one pregnant women completed an online survey. Sociodemographic, pregnancy, health, and psychosocial variables were assessed using standard or validated, self-report measures. Results: Mindfulness, emotion regulation and attachment anxiety contributed significant variance to each distress outcome; however, the model for pregnancy-specific anxiety accounted for less variance compared to depressive symptoms and general anxiety, suggesting that other factors may be important in the development of pregnancy-specific anxiety. Conclusions: Mindfulness, emotion regulation, and attachment style play an important role in maternal psychological wellbeing during pregnancy. Implications for screening and clinical practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110577
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • mindfulness
  • emotion regulation
  • attachment style
  • prenatal depression
  • pregnancy-specific anxiety
  • general anxiety


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