Promoting resilience to depression among couples during pregnancy: The protective functions of intimate relationship satisfaction and self-compassion

Shaina A. Kumar, Molly R. Franz, David DiLillo, Rebecca L Brock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Pregnancy, while often marked by joy, may pose considerable risk for depression among parents. Against a backdrop of adverse life events, expectant parents may be even more vulnerable to developing symptoms of depression during the prenatal period. Thus, it is critical to identify sources of resilience that might facilitate a successful transition to parenthood among couples who have a history of adversity. Prior work suggests that interpersonal and intrapersonal factors associated with resilience, such as intimate relationship satisfaction and self-compassion (i.e., self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness), have the potential to attenuate prenatal depression among couples with a history of stressful life experiences. We tested this possibility in a sample of 159 couples navigating pregnancy. As predicted, a greater number of prior stressful life experiences was associated with increased depression symptom severity for both mothers and fathers. However, moderation analyses revealed the positive link between cumulative stressful life experiences and depression symptom severity was attenuated among mothers who reported greater self-compassion in the form of feelings of common humanity, and fathers who reported higher levels of intimate relationship satisfaction and self-compassion in the form of mindfulness. Findings suggest enhancing intimate relationship satisfaction and self-compassion among expectant couples may be valuable in attenuating prenatal depression among those with a greater history of adversity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalFamily Process
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • adversity
  • couples
  • depression
  • family
  • relationship satisfaction
  • self-compassion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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