Coping in normal pregnancy
SourceAnnals of Behavioral Medicine, 24, 2, (2002), pp. 132-140
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI OGG
Annals of Behavioral Medicine
Background: In high-risk populations (e.g., adolescents, substance abusers), coping strategies in pregnancy have been :studied. Avoidance of the stressful situation and aggressive coping are frequently used and related to postnatal depression and other negative outcomes. Little is known about coping strategies in nulliparous normal-risk pregnancy. Objective: To examine the factor structure of the 19-item Utrecht Coping List (UCL-19) in a sample of nulliparous normal-risk pregnant women and to explore the stability, change, and correlates of coping strategies throughout pregnancy. The associations between a particular coping strategy and the reported pregnancy complaints and experienced distress were examined. Methods: The UCL-19 was filled out and self-report data were collected about neuroticism, locus of control, depression, general anxiety, perceived stress, and physical pregnancy complaints in nulliparous women in early, mid-, and late pregnancy. Results: Confirmatory factor analysis on the UCL-19 revealed 2 coping strategies: emotion-focused coning and problem focused coping. The factor structure of the UCL-19 had a good stability throughout pregnancy. Some changes in emotion focused coping and problem-focused coping scores were found, although the absolute differences were rather small. High educational level and low internal locus of control predicted a high score on emotion-focused coping in the early period of pregnancy F(2, 228) = 11.49, p < .005, R-2 = .22. High educational level also predicted a high score on problem focused coping in early pregnancy, F(1, 229) = 4.80, p < .05, R-2 = .06. Emotion focused coping was negatively and problem focused coping was positively related to pregnancy complaints (r = -.23, p < .05 and r = .25, p < .005, respectively). Emotion focused coping in early pregnancy and problem focused coping in mid-pregnancy were negatively related to experienced distress in early and mid pregnancy, respectively (r = -.27, p < .0005 and r = -.18, p < .01). Conclusion: Two coping strategies were consistently found throughout pregnancy: emotion focused coping and problem focused coping. Coping in nulliparous normal-risk pregnancy is a process with small temporal variations. Emotion focused coping was negatively related to the number of reported pregnancy complaints and to experienced distress.
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