Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 5-9-2020

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Danielle Maack

Second Advisor

John Young

Third Advisor

Rebekah Smith

Relational Format

Dissertation/Thesis

Abstract

Pregnancy is a period of great change in a woman’s body as her baby develops. During this period, women commonly experience symptoms of anxiety (Dennis et al., 2017) and depression (Shidhaye & Giri, 2014). Literature has suggested that socioeconomic status (SES) can contribute to the severity at which pregnant women experience anxiety and depression (Arora & Aeri, 2019; Field et al., 2008; Shagufta & Shams, 2019), and women of low socioeconomic status may be more likely to experience symptoms of anxiety and depression during pregnancy (Field et al., 2008). The present study aimed to assess the relationships between household income and experience of anxiety and depression symptoms, in pregnant women in Mississippi. Specifically, it was hypothesized that lower SES would be associated with increased experience of anxiety and depressive symptoms. Participants included 557 pregnant women (77.4% white; Mage = 28.42) recruited at an OBGYN clinic in north Mississippi. Demographics questionnaire and several self-report measures including the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale-21 (DASS-21; Lovibond & Lovibond, 1995) and the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS; Cox, Holden, Sagovsky, 1987) were completed. Results demonstrated that symptoms of anxiety measured by the DASS-21 were significantly higher in pregnant women earning less than $10,000 per year than all other income brackets (with the exception of the $31,000 to $51,000 level). Additionally, symptoms of depression measured by the DASS-21 were significantly higher in pregnant women earning less than $10,000 per year than all other income brackets (with the exception of the $31,000 to $51,000 level). No other household income levels significantly differed from each other on the DASS-21. Additionally, women whose income was less than $10,000 per year experienced significantly higher levels of depressive symptoms (as rated by the EPDS) than all other income levels. No significant differences were seen among any other SES level. The findings of this study supported the hypotheses that women of lower-income would have greater experience of anxiety and depression than those with higher incomes. These results are consistent with existing literature regarding socioeconomic status and symptoms of anxiety and depression in pregnant women, and they suggest a need for focusing on the mental health symptoms of pregnant women, regardless of socioeconomic status.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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