Environmental factors and anxiety levels of pregnant women.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
The present study was concerned with the effects of Antenatal Class Attendance and other environmental influences on the anxiety levels of pregnant women. Subjects were 258 women (91 primi-, 107 dui-, and 60 multigravidae) at various stages of pregnancy of whom 92 were currently attending antenatal classes, 87 were not currently attending antenatal classes but had previously attended such classes, and 79 were not attending antenatal classes and had never previously done so. Subjects completed the Pregnancy Research Questionnaire from which estimates of anxiety and other psychological reactions were derived. A background information questionnaire was also completed by each subject and was used to obtain details on the subject's environment. Two sets of analyses were undertaken. Firstly, multiple regression analyses were used to examine the extent to which anxiety measures could be predicted from the set of environmental details. The results indicated that anxiety and other measures were very difficult to predict and that attendance at antenatal classes did not make a substantial contribution to such prediction. The most potent influence on anxiety levels (in terms of proportion of variance accounted for) appeared to be degree of financial security (with high anxiety associated with low financial security). A multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was also used to ascertain the characteristics which distinguished highly anxious women from others in the sample. A variety of factors differentiated these groups and among such factors, the importance of degree of financial security was apparent. A series of exploratory analyses (MANOVA's) were also undertaken and the implication of financial insecurity as an influence on maternal anxiety was again indicated. The results were discussed in terms of the difficulties involved in assessing environmental influences, the implications for future antenatal course planning, and the need for additional support services for financially insecure women.