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

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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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