Journal of Affective Disorders
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Osman, Kayla M.; Lara-Cinisomo, Sandraluz; and D'Anna-Hernandez, Kimberly, "Associations Between Religiosity and Perinatal Anxiety Symptoms Among Women of Mexican Descent" (2021). Psychology Faculty Research and Publications. 543.
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