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J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2017 Nov;26(11):1193-1200. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2016.5962. Epub 2017 Apr 12.

The Prenatal Distress Measure: Adaptation of the Postpartum Distress Measure for a Prenatal Sample.

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1 The Anxiety and Agoraphobia Treatment Center , Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania.
2 Department of Psychology, La Salle University , Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
3 Department of Psychiatry, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania , Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.



Pregnancy is a significant transition period for women that can be markedly stressful. The presence of elevated depressed mood and anxiety during pregnancy places mothers, fetuses, and neonates at greater risk for developing biological and psychological difficulties. It appears that no general measures of distress currently exist that can be used to screen for both prenatal anxiety and mood.


This study explores the applicability of postpartum distress measure (PDM), a validated general distress postpartum screening tool, in a prenatal sample. One hundred ninety pregnant women were recruited from online websites with themes relevant to pregnancy. Women completed a demographics questionnaire, the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale, The Mood and Anxiety Symptom Questionnaire, Full Version, Prenatal Distress Measure (Pre-DM), and Relationship Assessment Scale.


An exploratory factor analysis with Varimax rotation identified two factors: general distress and obsessive-compulsive symptoms. These two factors formed the basis of the 10-item Pre-DM. The Pre-DM demonstrated very good reliability, with coefficient alphas of 0.85 for the Pre-DM total score, 0.84 for the general distress scale, and 0.80 for the obsessive-compulsive symptoms scale. Adequate convergent and discriminant validity with other established measures was also demonstrated.


Ten total items were selected for the final Pre-DM and are representative of the two factors that emerged from the exploratory factor analysis: general distress and obsessive-compulsive symptoms. It appears that before this study, no measure had been created for the primary purpose of screening for broad psychosocial distress during pregnancy. It is hoped that with further research, the Pre-DM will serve as a screening tool for distress during pregnancy and will be used as a companion measure to the PDM.


pregnancy; psychological distress; screening tool

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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