Pregnancy-specific distress: the role of maternal sense of coherence and antenatal mothering orientations

Aleksandra Staneva, Alina Morawska, Fiona Bogossian, Anja Wittkowski

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16 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Maternal mental health during pregnancy has been identified as a key factor in the future physiological, emotional and social development of both the mother and her baby. Yet little is known about the factors that contribute to increased levels of pregnancy-specific distress. The present study investigated the role of two psychosocial and personality-based constructs, namely women’s sense of coherence (SoC) and their mothering orientations, on their pregnancy-specific distress. Design: During their second trimester of pregnancy, 293 Australian and New Zealand women participated in an online study. Hierarchical multiple regression analysis was used to determine the unique contribution of women’s SoC (Sense of Coherence Scale, SoC 13) and their antenatal mothering orientation (Antenatal Mothering Orientation Measure-Revised, AMOM-R) to pregnancy-specific distress (Revised Prenatal Distress Questionnaire, NuPDQ). Results: Low SoC was the best determinant of women’s pregnancy-specific distress, accounting for over 45% of the variance (β = −0.33, p < 0.001, 95% CI [−0.43, −0.23]). A Regulator mothering orientation was correlated with distress but did not have a unique contribution in the final model. Conclusions: This study further highlights the importance of better understanding women’s perceptions of emotional health and their mothering role while taking into consideration their wider social context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)387-394
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Mental Health
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sep 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Distress
  • maternal orientation
  • pregnancy
  • sense of coherence

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