|Abstract:||Purpose: Childhood abuse is a major public health concern and a risk factor for poor maternal mental health. This study of 197 racially diverse, low-income women explored the associations between childhood sexual and physical abuse depression and anxiety in pregnancy, 6 weeks postpartum, and 12 weeks postpartum.
Methods: Women were recruited from a local public health clinic during pregnancy. Data on depressive and anxiety symptoms were gathered in pregnancy, 6 weeks postpartum, and 12 weeks postpartum while sociodemographic data were collected at enrollment. Childhood sexual and physical abuse histories were gathered at the 12-week postpartum period. Kruskal-Wallis tests and multiple linear regression analyses were used to assess the association between childhood abuse and perinatal depression and anxiety.
Results: There was a significant association between childhood abuse and prenatal depressive symptoms; childhood sexual abuse: [b= 2.41, p=0.009], childhood physical abuse; [b= 3.36, p=0.027] and experiencing both forms of abuse [b =3.12, p=0.028]. Childhood sexual abuse and childhood physical abuse remained significant at 12-weeks postpartum, [b =3.48, p < 0.001] and [b =2.91, p=0.026] respectively. Childhood sexual abuse was also significantly associated with anxiety symptoms throughout the perinatal period; in pregnancy, [b =6.08, p = 0.001], and at 6 weeks and 12-weeks postpartum respectively, [b =3.97, p = 0.027] and [b =5.31, p = 0.002].
Conclusions: The results from this study highlights the importance in assessing the unique associations of abuse type with perinatal depression, which can help inform the development of interventions.