Examining Relationships Between Body Dissatisfaction, Maladaptive Perfectionism, and Postpartum Depression Symptoms

Authors


  • The authors report no conflict of interest or relevant financial relationships.

Correspondence

Alison C. Sweeney, PsyD, Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center 2002 Holcombe Blvd. Houston, TX 77030. alison.sweeney@va.gov

ABSTRACT

Objective

To explore body dissatisfaction and maladaptive perfectionism as risk factors for postpartum depression symptomatology.

Design

Prospective, cohort design.

Setting

Urban and suburban hospital-based obstetrician and midwifery offices.

Participants

Forty-six (46) adult ethnically diverse pregnant women with gestational age greater than or equal to 28 weeks.

Method

Body dissatisfaction and maladaptive perfectionism were assessed in the offices of health care providers during the third trimester of pregnancy. Postpartum depression symptomatology was assessed at least 2 months postpartum using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) via postal mail or e-mail.

Results

Body dissatisfaction predicted postpartum depression symptoms, even after controlling for previously established risk factors. No main effect emerged between maladaptive perfectionism and postpartum depression symptoms.

Conclusions

Body dissatisfaction in the third trimester of pregnancy serves as a risk factor for postpartum depression. Therefore, assessment of body image during the third trimester of pregnancy may help health care providers identify women at risk of postpartum depression. Body dissatisfaction also may be an important target for postpartum depression prevention and treatment programs.

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