Emotional and relational protective factors during pregnancy and psychological well-being and personal growth after childbirth

Meital Navon - Eyal, Orit Taubman–Ben-Ari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Studies in the perinatal literature tend to focus on potential negative outcomes, but little attention has been paid to the protective factors that may be associated with better psychological well-being or positive mental changes, such as personal growth. Objective: Drawing on the Broaden and Build Theory of Positive Emotions, the study employed a prospective design and a sequential mediation model to examine the mechanism by which protective factors during pregnancy (dispositional gratitude, perceived relationship quality with the partner, perceived maternal-foetal bonding) may be associated, in sequence, with higher psychological well-being and personal growth after childbirth among first-time mothers. Methods: The sample consisted of 515 women who were recruited through social media and completed questionnaires in two phases: Time 1, during the second half of their pregnancy; and Time 2, around 12 weeks after the birth of their first baby. Results: Results show that gratitude was associated with higher perceived relationship quality during pregnancy, which was associated with higher maternal-foetal bonding, which in turn was associated with higher psychological well-being and personal growth after childbirth. The indirect effects were significant. Conclusion: The study expands knowledge of positive outcomes in the transition to motherhood, and demonstrates that positive emotions, such as gratitude, may be the first link in the chain of factors predicting better outcomes from pregnancy to childbirth.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology
Early online date20 Nov 2023
DOIs
StateE-pub ahead of print - 20 Nov 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Society for Reproductive & Infant Psychology.

Keywords

  • Psychological well-being
  • gratitude
  • maternal-foetal bonding
  • personal growth
  • relationship quality with the partner

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