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Stress Health. 2019 Aug;35(3):330-340. doi: 10.1002/smi.2865. Epub 2019 May 17.

The influence of mindfulness and social support on stress reactivity during pregnancy.

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Department of Psychology, California State University, Long Beach, California.
Department of Psychological Science, University of California, Irvine, California.


Exaggerated stress reactivity can lead to negative health outcomes, which can be especially harmful during important periods of development such as pregnancy. Therefore, studies are needed to examine potential protective factors associated with lower perceived stress reactivity and lower cortisol awakening response (CAR) during pregnancy. The current cross-sectional study examined whether low-income women (n = 152) with higher mindfulness (attentiveness and awareness of the present moment) and more perceived social support had lower levels of perceived stress reactivity and a lower CAR during pregnancy. Women completed self-report measures of mindfulness (Mindful Attention Awareness Scale), social support (Medical Outcomes Study-Social Support Scale), and perceived stress reactivity (Perceived Stress Reactivity Scale) during their first trimester of pregnancy and collected saliva using the passive drool procedure at home (at awakening and at 30 min after awakening). Results showed that women with greater mindfulness and greater perceived social support had significantly lower perceived stress reactivity, but not a lower CAR. These results provide preliminary support for mindfulness and social support as potential protective factors of perceived stress reactivity and have implications for experimental studies aimed at improving pregnant women's mindfulness and social support for reducing their stress reactivity and potentially improving health outcomes.


cortisol awakening response; mindfulness; perceived stress reactivity; pregnant women; social support

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