Pregnancy-related anxiety: Re-examining its distinctiveness

Carla M. Anderson, Robyn J. Brunton, Mary Dryer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Pregnancy-related anxiety has been identified as a distinct anxiety associated with adverse outcomes. This partial replication of the seminal study which demonstrated pregnancy-related anxiety and measures of state/trait anxiety and depression shared little variance, provides additional empirical support for this anxiety type. In addition, the Perinatal Anxiety Screening Scale (PASS) was examined together with the contributing role of neuroticism.
Method: Pregnant women were recruited online (n =202, M-age =25.0, SD= 4.9), and completed the Pregnancy-Related Anxiety Questionnaire-Revised (PRAQ-R2), PASS, Edinburgh Depression Scale, State Trait Anxiety Inventory, and the International Personality Item Pool Neuroticism scale.
Result: There were small to very large correlations between all main variables. Large correlations between the predictors (anxiety, depression, neuroticism) indicated multicollinearity resulting in the exclusion of neuroticism. Multiple regression confirmed that the PRAQ-R2 shared little variance with measures of anxiety and depression. By contrast, the PASS shared large proportions of variance with measures of anxiety.
The findings in relation to the PRAQ-R2 support the proposition that pregnancy-related anxiety is a distinct anxiety type. However, given the significant proportion of variance the PASS shares with anxiety/depression, the PASS is better suited for screening anxiety disorder symptomology but less suitable as a measure of pregnancy-related anxiety. Limitations included a sample size that was not sufficient to enable stratification. Further, given that the PRAQ-R2 assesses only some of the core pregnancy-related anxieties, use of a more comprehensive scale of pregnancy-related anxiety is needed for an accurate assessment. Clinical implications include the possibility that some women with elevated pregnancy-related anxiety may be overlooked using existing measures. Given the reported prevalence and adverse outcomes, a psychometrically sound measure for pregnancy-related anxiety may afford valuable intervention opportunities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)132-142
Number of pages11
JournalAustralian Psychologist
Issue number2
Early online date07 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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