Background: The study’s aims were to examine whether the COVID-19 pandemic was associated with increases in depression levels of 21 months postpartum women who were initially sampled before the pandemic and whether COVID-19-related worries mediated the association between women’s attachment orientations and this hypothesized increase. Methods: Participants comprised 185 postpartum women sampled in the maternity ward of a tertiary healthcare center in Israel followed from childbirth to 21 months postpartum in four-time points. We analyzed demographic and obstetric information and the Experiences in Close Relationships (ECR) scale at T1; changes in the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) levels at all timepoints (T1-4); and COVID-19-related worries at T4. Results: Results showed a significant increase in depression levels at T4 compared to T2 and T3, and an increase in the prevalence of women at the lower clinical EPDS threshold. COVID-19-related worries mediated the association between anxious attachment and depression (indirect effect: B =.21, p <.05, 95% CI = (.015,.47), R2=0.12). Discussion: The evident effect of COVID-19 on postpartum depression is associated with variability between people. Thus, early assessment of women's attachment orientations might provide a strategy for identifying and treating women at risk.
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- attachment orientation