A Longitudinal Perspective of the Change in Personal Growth in the Transition to Motherhood and Predicting Factors

Meital Navon Eyal, Orit Taubman Ben-Ari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: During the transition to motherhood, women may experience personal growth, especially when they are exposed to a traumatic stressor such as a global pandemic. However, few studies have employed a longitudinal design to examine the change in personal growth over time during this period. Based on the Personal Growth following Life Crisis and Transitions model, we explored the trajectory of personal growth and the factors that may predict it: COVID-19-related anxiety, maternal–fetal bonding, and dispositional gratitude. Perceived relationship quality with the partner was used as a predictor of growth in each study wave. Method: The sample consisted of 388 women with diverse sociodemographic backgrounds, who were recruited through social media and completed self-report questionnaires in three phases: the second half of their pregnancy, 3 months after the birth of their first child, and 3 months later. Results: A linear increase in personal growth was found from pregnancy until after childbirth. Higher COVID-19-related anxiety and maternal–fetal bonding predicted higher initial personal growth, but lower change over time. Higher gratitude predicted higher initial levels of personal growth, but not the change over time. Relationship quality with the partner predicted personal growth 3 and 6 months after childbirth, but not during pregnancy. Conclusions: Personal growth measured at a single point in time and the change in personal growth over time are distinct phenomena predicted by different variables. Variables related to higher initial levels of growth appear to predict less change over time.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy
Early online date25 Jan 2024
StateE-pub ahead of print - 25 Jan 2024

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© 2024 American Psychological Association


  • COVID-19-related anxiety
  • dispositional gratitude
  • maternal–fetal bonding
  • personal growth
  • relationship quality with the partner


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