Couple during the transition to parenthood: Trajectories of emotional wellbeing and perinatal disease

Sara Molgora, Valentina Fenaroli

Research output: Contribution to journalConference article


The scientific literature on perinatal depression has always focused mainly on the correlates and effects of depressive symptoms. While the topic has always been investigated using cross-sectional designs, the few repeated measures analyses that have been published to date are often referred to a brief period, covering only the first few months post-partum. The question about the course of depression remains largely unexplained. If some recent longitudinal research has identified distinct trajectories of maternal perinatal depression, no study has investigated the trajectories of paternal perinatal depression. Moreover, no research explores the Italian population. The present study aims to analyze the longitudinal trajectories of depressive symptoms in a sample of Italian mothers and fathers, from the third trimester of pregnancy to one year after childbirth. 126 Italian first-time mothers and 126 Italian first-time fathers completed the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale at four time points: 7th-8th month of pregnancy, 40 days, 5-6 months, and 12 months after childbirth. Data were analyzed by means of Latent Growth Mixture Modeling. The analyses allowed to identify different sub-populations within the sample (mothers and fathers, separately) and indicated a three classes model as the optimal solution for both males and females. Specifically, most mothers (50%) and fathers (52%) belong to the resilience trajectory, characterized by a stable emotional wellbeing over time. A significant proportion of mothers (44%) and fathers (37%) show moderate, and yet relatively stable, depressive symptoms (emotional distress trajectory). Lastly, a small group of mothers (6%) and fathers (11%) develop more serious symptoms over time, with some differences between mothers (chronic illness) and fathers (emerging depression). The results underline the importance to analyze mothers’ and fathers’ wellbeing during the transition to parenthood. The clinical implications of these results will be discussed during the congress.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-59
Number of pages1
JournalMediterranean Journal of Clinical Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventXVIII Congresso Nazionale dell'Associazione Italiana di Psicologia - Sezione di Psicologia Clinica-Dinamica - Roma
Duration: 16 Sep 201618 Sep 2016


  • couple, transition to parenthood, trajectories, emotional wellbeing, disease


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