Document Type

Article

Publication Date

11-1-2021

Publisher

Elsevier

Source Publication

Journal of Affective Disorders

Source ISSN

0165-0327

Abstract

Background

Over half of pregnant women experience anxiety symptoms, however perinatal mental health disparities exist. Women of Mexican descent exhibit higher levels of anxiety symptoms which may be linked to sociocultural stressors. However, little is known about culturally relevant factors that may protect against anxiety in this fast-growing population, such as religiosity, an important facet of Mexican culture.

Methods

Pregnant women of Mexican descent (n = 197) were recruited from a local community clinic and followed into the postpartum period. Women completed surveys assessing religiosity, acculturation, acculturative stress, and anxiety symptoms.

Results

Higher levels of religiosity were associated with lower levels of anxiety symptoms throughout pregnancy, but not postpartum (b = -1.01, p = .002). Additionally, religiosity significantly buffered the relationship between acculturative stress and anxiety symptoms during early (R2 = .13, b = -.12, p = .041), mid- (R2 = .19, b = -.19, p < .001) and late pregnancy (R2 = .14, b = -.13, p = .023), and at six weeks postpartum (R2 = .08, b = -.12, R2 = .08, p = .016).

Limitations

The study was limited to women of Mexican descent and it is possible that other immigrant groups may exhibit different patterns of religiosity and anxiety symptoms.

Conclusions

These results suggest that religiosity may be protective against maternal anxiety among women of Mexican descent, which has important implications for culturally relevant perinatal interventions and treatments.

Comments

Accepted version. Journal of Affective Disorders, Vol. 294 (November 1, 2021): 77-84. DOI. © 2021 Elsevier. Used with permission.

Available for download on Tuesday, November 01, 2022

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