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Psychol Trauma. 2014 Jan;6(1):41-49.

Complex Mental Health Sequelae of Psychological Trauma Among Women in Prenatal Care.

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University of Michigan Institute for Research on Women and Gender.
New School for Social Research.
University of Connecticut School of Medicine.


Pregnancy is a critical time to identify and address maternal mental health problems, for the health of both mother and child. Pregnant women with histories of exposure to interpersonal psychological trauma may experience a range of mental health problems including but not limited to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In a community sample of 1,581 pregnant women, 25% reported symptoms consistent with at least one of six syndromes, including PTSD, major depressive disorder (MDD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), or clinically significant dissociation, somatization, or affect dysregulation. Six sub-groups with distinct mental health problem profiles were identified by cluster analysis. Controlling for sociodemographic risk factors, women with histories of interpersonal trauma were over-represented in four sub-groups characterized by: (1) PTSD comorbid with depression (childhood sexual abuse), (2) PTSD comorbid with affect/interpersonal dysregulation (childhood physical or emotional abuse), (3) somatization (adult abuse), and (4) GAD (foster/adoptive placement). Findings suggest risk relationships warranting further study between different types of interpersonal trauma exposure and psychiatric outcomes in pregnant women, including PTSD with two types of comorbidity.


Comorbidity; Interpersonal Trauma; PTSD; Women; anxiety; depression; dissociation; somatization

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