Adult separation anxiety in pregnancy: how common is it?
Valsamma Eapen,1,2 Derrick M Silove,1,3 Deborah Johnston,1,2 Alex Apler,1,2 Susan Rees1,3
1School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales, Sydney, 2Infant Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, Academic Unit of Child Psychiatry, 3Center for Population Mental Health Research, Psychiatry Research and Teaching Unit, South West Sydney Local Health District, Liverpool, NSW, Australia
Abstract: The present study, the first to examine adult separation anxiety (ASA) in the context of pregnancy, found that ASA is a common yet unrecognized condition. Women attending an antenatal clinic were evaluated for the presence of ASA. A quarter of the women reached an established symptom threshold for ASA, with significantly more primigravida women (P = 0.003) identified as having the problem. There were no significant differences in the sociodemographic characteristics between those with and without ASA. Around one-third acknowledged that ASA was causing significant impairment in day-to-day functioning, suggesting the clinical importance of the pattern. Further research is indicated to explore this clinical entity and its impact on maternal and infant psychosocial wellbeing.
Keywords: separation anxiety, perinatal mental health, prevalence, sociodemographic factors.
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