Partner relationship satisfaction and maternal emotional distress in early pregnancy

BMC Public Health. 2011;11(1):161 DOI 10.1186/1471-2458-11-161


Journal Homepage

Journal Title: BMC Public Health

ISSN: 1471-2458 (Online)

Publisher: BMC

LCC Subject Category: Medicine: Public aspects of medicine

Country of publisher: United Kingdom

Language of fulltext: English

Full-text formats available: PDF, HTML



Eberhard-Gran Malin
Slinning Kari
Røsand Gun-Mette B
Røysamb Espen
Tambs Kristian


Open peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 18 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

<p>Abstract</p> <p>Background</p> <p>Recognition of maternal emotional distress during pregnancy and the identification of risk factors for this distress are of considerable clinical- and public health importance. The mental health of the mother is important both for herself, and for the physical and psychological health of her children and the welfare of the family. The first aim of the present study was to identify risk factors for maternal emotional distress during pregnancy with special focus on partner relationship satisfaction. The second aim was to assess interaction effects between relationship satisfaction and the main predictors.</p> <p>Methods</p> <p>Pregnant women enrolled in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (n = 51,558) completed a questionnaire with questions about maternal emotional distress, relationship satisfaction, and other risk factors. Associations between 37 predictor variables and emotional distress were estimated by multiple linear regression analysis.</p> <p>Results</p> <p>Relationship dissatisfaction was the strongest predictor of maternal emotional distress (β = 0.25). Other predictors were dissatisfaction at work (β = 0.11), somatic disease (β = 0.11), work related stress (β = 0.10) and maternal alcohol problems in the preceding year (β = 0.09). Relationship satisfaction appeared to buffer the effects of frequent moving, somatic disease, maternal smoking, family income, irregular working hours, dissatisfaction at work, work stress, and mother's sick leave (<it>P </it>< 0.05).</p> <p>Conclusions</p> <p>Dissatisfaction with the partner relationship is a significant predictor of maternal emotional distress in pregnancy. A good partner relationship can have a protective effect against some stressors.</p>