Peritraumatic Distress Mediates the Effect of Severity of Disaster Exposure on Perinatal Depression: The Iowa Flood Study

Rebecca L. Brock, Michael W. O'Hara, Kimberly J. Hart, Jennifer E. McCabe-Beane, J. Austin Williamson, Alain Brunet, David P. Laplante, Chunbo Yu, Suzanne King

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12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Disaster exposure during pregnancy has received limited attention. This study examined the impact of the 2008 Iowa Floods on perinatal maternal depression and well-being, and the role of peritraumatic distress as a possible mechanism explaining this link. Perinatal women (N = 171) completed measures of depressive symptoms and general well-being at 5 timepoints from pregnancy to 30 months postpartum. Objectively assessed prenatal flood exposure was associated with greater depression (r = .15). Further, flood-related peritraumatic distress was uniquely associated with greater depression (r = .23), and was a key mechanism through which flood exposure led to depression. Prenatal flood exposure was also associated with general well-being (r = .18); however, a mechanism other than peritraumatic distress appears to have been responsible for the effect of flood exposure on well-being. We discuss the implications of these findings for informing etiological models and enhancing the efficacy of interventions for maternal psychopathology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)515-522
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Traumatic Stress
Volume28
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this

Brock, R. L., O'Hara, M. W., Hart, K. J., McCabe-Beane, J. E., Williamson, J. A., Brunet, A., Laplante, D. P., Yu, C., & King, S. (2015). Peritraumatic Distress Mediates the Effect of Severity of Disaster Exposure on Perinatal Depression: The Iowa Flood Study. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 28(6), 515-522. https://doi.org/10.1002/jts.22056