A1 Journal article – refereed
Mothers' and fathers' prenatal representations in relation to marital distress and depressive symptoms

List of Authors: Ahlqvist-Bjorkroth S, Korja R, Junttila N, Savonlahti E, Pajulo M, Raiha H, Aromaa M
Publication year: 2016
Journal: Infant Mental Health Journal
Journal name in source: INFANT MENTAL HEALTH JOURNAL
Journal acronym: INFANT MENT HEALTH J
Volume number: 37
Issue number: 4
Number of pages: 13
ISSN: 0163-9641

Marital distress, parental depression, and weak quality of parental representations are all known risk factors for parent-child relationships. However, the relation between marital distress, depressive symptoms, and parents' prenatal representation is uncertain, especially regarding fathers. The present study aimed to explore how mothers' and fathers' prenatal experience of marital distress and depressive symptoms affects the organization of their prenatal representations in late pregnancy. Participants were 153 pregnant couples from a Finnish follow-up study called Steps to the Healthy Development and Well-being of Children (H. Lagstrom etal., ). Marital distress (Revised Dyadic Adjustment Scale; D.M. Busby, C. Christensen, D. Crane, & J. Larson, 1995) and depressive symptoms (Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale) were assessed at 20 gestational weeks, and prenatal representations (Working Model of the Child Interview; D. Benoit, K.C.H. Parker, & C.H. Zeanah, 1997; C.H. Zeanah, D. Benoit, M. Barton, & L. Hirshberg, 1996) were assessed between 29 and 32 gestational weeks. The mothers' risks of distorted representations increased significantly when they had at least minor depressive symptoms. Marital distress was associated with the fathers' prenatal representations, although the association was weak; fathers within the marital distress group had less balanced representations. Coexisting marital distress and depressive symptoms were only associated with the mothers' representations; lack of marital distress and depressive symptoms increased the likelihood for mothers to have balanced representations. The results imply that marital distress and depressive symptoms are differently related to the organizations of mothers' and fathers' prenatal representations.

Last updated on 2019-21-08 at 21:44