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Int J Psychiatry Med. 1989;19(1):65-84.

Effect of pregnancy on psychosis: life circumstances and psychiatric symptoms.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of California, Davis.


As part of an ongoing prospective study to correlate mother and infant outcome with social isolation during pregnancy, the Schedule for Affective Disorders, SADS-C, was administered to twenty-seven psychotic patients late in pregnancy. Extensive standardized evaluation of life stresses and social supports included a Prenatal Interview with sixty items relating to demographics, drug use, health and obstetrical history, family involvement and development expectations of the infant, and a thirty-item Difficult Life Circumstances questionnaire. In this sample the patients' previous life adjustments were stabilized by their pregnancy unless the pregnancy itself created personal stress for the patient. Higher scores on Difficult Life Circumstances were found to be associated with more psychiatric symptomatology. Symptoms of pregnancy confounded SADS-C items measuring vegetative signs of depression. One group of items on the SADS-C appeared to selectively identify a subset of women whose underlying affective symptomatology was potentiated by pregnancy. A second group of items identified women whose symptoms appeared to be reactive to current situational strains.

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