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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter September 11, 2012

Adult separation anxiety during pregnancy and its relationship to depression and anxiety

  • Valsamma Eapen EMAIL logo , Deborah Johnston , Alex Apler , Susan Rees and Derrick M. Silove


Aims: The current study, the first of its kind, investigated the overlap between adult separation anxiety (ASA) and the symptoms of depression and anxiety in the context of pregnancy.

Methods: Women attending an antenatal clinic were screened using the Adult Separation Anxiety Scale (ASA-27). As most perinatal clinics use the Edinburgh Depression Scale (EDS), this study explored the relationship between ASA and the anxiety and depression symptoms by comparing the ASA-27 scores with the scores on the EDS. A subsample including both screen positives and screen negatives on ASA-27 was clinically interviewed using the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI).

Results: Women with ASA were significantly more likely to be screened positive for depression (EDS total score) and anxiety (EDS-3A anxiety subscale) than those without ASA. The diagnosis of ASA disorder in this population had only a moderate but significant association with the diagnoses of generalized anxiety disorder [χ2(1)=25.9, P=0.000, Φ=0.443] and major depression [χ2(1)=16, P=0.000, Φ=0.348] made using the MINI.

Conclusion: Adult separation anxiety warrants independent assessment in order to tailor appropriate interventions for the individual subtypes of anxiety in the perinatal period.

Corresponding author: Valsamma Eapen, Infant, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Academic Unit of Child Psychiatry, South West Sydney Local Health District, ICAMHS, Mental Health Centre, L1, Liverpool Hospital, Elizabeth Street, Liverpool New South Wales, Australia, Tel.: +61-2-9616-4205, Fax: +61-2-9601-2773

Received: 2012-5-16
Accepted: 2012-8-13
Published Online: 2012-09-11
Published in Print: 2013-03-01

©2013 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston

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