Pregnancy-related psychopathology: A comparison between pre-COVID-19 and COVID-19-related social restriction periods

Daniela Pia Rosaria Chieffo, Carla Avallone, Ilaria De Luca, Daniele Hirsch, Lucio Rinaldi, Antonio Lanzone, Eugenio Maria Mercuri, Marianna Mazza, Gabriele Sani

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivista


BACKGROUNDThe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic impacted in a still undefined way pregnant women's mental health. There are reports of mood and affect changes in the general population and the suggestion that similar changes occur also in the pregnant population. The greater vulnerability of women during the COVID-19 restriction period may translate into a greater risk for mental disorders in the gestational period. We hypothesised that pregnant women in the pre-pandemic period would have less psychopathology and more psychological support than pregnant women during the pandemic restriction period. AIMTo compare pregnant women for anxiety, prenatal depression, psychopathology, and social support before and after the awareness of the pandemic. METHODSWe administered to women willing to participate in their 2(nd)-3(rd) trimesters of pregnancy the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS), the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory Form Y (STAI-Y), and the Symptom CheckList-90-Revised (SCL-90R); we further collected sociodemographic variables and explored women's social support. The comparison was cross-sectional. The first sample was termed nonCOVID-19 because data were gathered before the COVID-19 outbreak (January 2020-February 2020) was declared, and the second sample termed COVID-19 because participants were already subjected to the COVID-19-related restrictive measures (January 2021-February 2021). Since normal distribution was not met (Shapiro-Wilk test applied), we applied nonparametric Mann-Whitney's U-test to compare psychometric tests. Ethical standards were met. RESULTSThe nonCOVID-19 group reported higher support from partners only, while the COVID-19 group reported multiple support (chi(2) = 9.7181; P = 0.021); the nonCOVID-19 group scored higher than the COVID-19 group only on state anxiety among psychometric scales [STAI-Y1, nonCOVID-19 median = 39 (95%CI: 39.19-51.10) vs COVID-19 median= 32 (95%CI: 30.83-38.90); Mann-Whitney's U=117.5, P = 0.00596]. Other measures did not differ meaningfully between the two groups. Scores on the EPDS, the state and trait subscales of the STAI-Y, and most SCL-90R subscales inter-correlated with one another. The anxiety component of the EPDS, EPDS-3A, correlated poorly with other measures, while it was the Global Symptom Index of the SCL-90-R that correlated most strongly with most measures. Our results are at odds with most literature and do not confirm increased depression and anxiety rates in pregnant women during the pandemic. CONCLUSIONThe ability of pregnant women to deal with novel generalised threats involves mobilization of inner resources. Increasing sources of social support may have produced anxiolysis in the COVID-19 sample.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)6370-6384
Numero di pagine15
RivistaWorld Journal of Clinical Cases
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2022


  • Anxiety
  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • Depression
  • Pregnancy
  • Psychopathology
  • Social Support


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