Women's Stress, Depression, and Relationship Adjustment Profiles as They Relate to Intimate Partner Violence and Mental Health During Pregnancy and Postpartum

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Abstract

Objective:

This study applied latent class analysis to examine whether homogeneous subgroups of women emerged based on their self-reported stress, depression, and relationship adjustment during pregnancy. We also examined whether women in different groups experienced different intimate partner violence (IPV) and mental health symptoms during pregnancy and postpartum.

Method:

One hundred eighty women completed assessments during the first 18 weeks of pregnancy, and 122 completed follow-up assessments 6 weeks postpartum.

Results:

A 2-class solution best fit the data. One group reported higher mean stress and depression and poorer relationship adjustment compared with the other group. The high severity class reported more psychological IPV victimization and perpetration and more physical IPV victimization during pregnancy compared with the low severity class. Membership in the high severity class was associated with higher postpartum depression.

Conclusions:

Findings highlight the associations between different profiles of mental and relational health during pregnancy and postpartum. Future studies should explore the utility of dyadic interventions aimed at reducing stress, depression, and IPV, and improving relationship adjustment as a means to improve women's health during pregnancy and postpartum. These findings also highlight the potential utility of applying person-centered analytic approaches to the study of women's and couples’ health during this time period.

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