Emotional distress following childbirth: An intervention to buffer depressive and PTSD symptoms

Sarah Miragoli, Paola Di Blasio, Elena Camisasca, Angela Maria Di Vita, Rosalia Pizzo, Laura Pipitone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Introduction. Childbirth for some women is a negative experience associated with depressive and post-traumatic symptoms. The preventive actions focusing on helping mothers to cope with negative emotions experienced after childbirth are strongly recommended. It is also recommended both to intervene early and on all women to avoid the risk that these symptoms can worsen in the months after childbirth. Objective. The intervention described in the current study is focalized on the elaboration of post-partum negative thoughts and emotion through a writing task, with the purpose to help new mothers to reflect, understand, evaluate and, thus, reformulate the stressful situation with new beliefs and emotions. Design. 176 women aged from 19 to 43 years (M = 31.55, SD = 4.58) were assessed for depression and PTSD in the prenatal phase (T1). In about 96 hours after childbirth they were randomly assigned to either “Making Sense condition” (MS: in which they wrote about the thoughts and emotions connected with delivery and childbirth) or “Control-Neutral condition” (NC: in which they wrote about the daily events in behavioural terms) and then reassessed for depression and PTSD (T2). A follow up was conducted 3 months later (T3) to verify depression and posttraumatic symptoms. Results. The results showed positive effects of the making sense task. In particular, while depressive symptoms are affected already at 96 hours (and at 3 months) by the positive effect of making sense, those of PTSD change at 3 months and not immediately after childbirth.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)214-232
Number of pages19
JournalEurope's Journal of Psychology
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Keywords

  • Childbirth
  • Depression
  • Depressione
  • Expressive writing
  • Parto
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Scrittura espressiva

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