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What to Expect When You're Expecting the Best: The Roles of Optimism, Coping, and Self-Esteem in the Development of Postpartum Depression

24 July 2006


Postpartum depression is a prevalent experience associated with negative long-term outcomes. Biological risk factors have been identified, but few researchers have looked at psychological variables as possible risk or protective factors for postpartum depression. This cross-sectional study examined the relationships among 40 new mothers' optimism, self-esteem, coping efforts and postpartum depression as measured by the LOT-R (Scheier, Carver, & Bridges, 1994), Rosenberg's SES (Rosenberg, 1965), the Brief COPE (Carver, 1997), and the EPDS (Cox, Holden & Sagovsky, 1987), respectively. New mothers' self-esteem may be a possible protective factor as women with higher. selfesteem reported less postpartum depressive symptoms in the present study. Coping efforts that include self-blame, behavioral disengagement, and venting however, may be risk factors as they were moderately correlated with increased risk for postpartum depression. Implications for treatment, prevention and further research were discussed.


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