The Postpartum Specific Anxiety Scale: development and preliminary validation

Fallon, V, Halford, JCG, Bennett, K ORCID: 0000-0003-3164-6894 and Harrold, J ORCID: 0000-0002-0899-4586
(2016) The Postpartum Specific Anxiety Scale: development and preliminary validation. Archives of Women's Mental Health, 19. 1079 - 1090.

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Perinatal symptoms of anxiety are increasingly recognised due to their high prevalence and impact. Studies using pregnancy-specific anxiety measures have found that they may predict perinatal outcomes more effectively than general measures. However, no such measure exists to assess anxieties specific to the postpartum. This study aimed to develop and validate a measure (Postpartum Specific Anxiety Scale; PSAS) that accurately represents the specific anxieties faced by postpartum women, using a four-stage methodology: (1) 51 items were generated from interviews conducted with a group of 19 postpartum women at two time points, (2) the scale was reviewed and refined by a diverse expert panel, (3) an online pilot study (n = 146) was conducted to assess comprehensibility and acceptability and (4) an online sample of 1282 mothers of infants up to 6 months old completed the PSAS against a battery of convergent measures. A subsample (n = 262) repeated the PSAS 2 weeks later. The PSAS possessed good face and content validity and was comprehensible and acceptable to postpartum women. PSAS scores were significantly correlated with other measures indicating good convergent validity. Principal component analyses (PCA) revealed a simple four-factor structure. Reliability of the overall scale and individual PSAS factors proved to be good to excellent. A preliminary receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis also suggested that the PSAS may be a useful screening tool. The psychometric evidence suggests that the PSAS is an acceptable, valid, and reliable research tool to assess anxieties, which are specific to the postpartum period. Next steps in the iterative validation process are considered for both research and screening purposes.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Postpartum, Anxiety, Maternal mental health, Scale development, Psychometrics
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 13 Oct 2016 14:30
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2021 04:11
DOI: 10.1007/s00737-016-0658-9
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