A conceptual model of psychological predictors of postpartum weight retention

Joanne Phillips, Ross King, Helen Skouteris

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15 Citations (Scopus)


Obesity and being overweight affect almost half of all women of childbearing age, with postpartum weight retention (PWR) being a key contributing factor. Retention of postpartum weight has a number of negative health implications for mothers and offspring, including longer-term higher body mass index (BMI). There is increasing evidence that psychological factors are associated with PWR, including depressive symptoms, anxiety, stress, and body dissatisfaction. However, what is less known is how these psychological factors might interact with maternal physiological and physical weight factors, sociocontextual influences, pregnancy-related medical factors, and maternal behaviours to lead to PWR. We have incorporated identified psychological influences within an empirically supported, multifactorial, conceptual model of hypothesised predictors of PWR, and argue that a systematic and rigorous evaluation of this conceptual model will inform the development of appropriate prevention strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)278-288
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • anxiety
  • body dissatisfaction
  • depression
  • obesity
  • postpartum
  • weight retention

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