Screening for post-traumatic stress disorder following childbirth using the Peritraumatic Distress Inventory

Kathleen M. Jagodnik, Tsachi Ein-Dor, Sabrina J. Chan, Adi Titelman Ashkenazy, Alon Bartal, Robert L. Barry, Sharon Dekel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following traumatic childbirth may undermine maternal and infant health, but screening for maternal childbirth-related PTSD (CB-PTSD) remains lacking. Acute emotional distress in response to a traumatic experience strongly associates with PTSD. The Peritraumatic Distress Inventory (PDI) assesses acute distress in non-postpartum individuals, but its use to classify women likely to endorse CB-PTSD is unknown. Methods: 3039 women provided information about their mental health and childbirth experience. They completed the PDI regarding their recent childbirth event, and a PTSD symptom screen to determine CB-PTSD. We employed Exploratory Graph Analysis and bootstrapping to reveal the PDI's factorial structure and optimal cutoff value for CB-PTSD classification. Results: Factor analysis revealed two strongly correlated stable factors based on a modified version of the PDI: (1) negative emotions and (2) bodily arousal and threat appraisal. A score of 15+ on the modified PDI produced high sensitivity and specificity: 88 % with a positive CB-PTSD screen in the first postpartum months and 93 % with a negative screen. Limitations: In this cross-sectional study, the PDI was administered at different timepoints postpartum. Future work should examine the PDI's predictive utility for screening women as closely as possible to the time of childbirth, and establish clinical cutoffs in populations after complicated deliveries. Conclusions: Brief self-report screening concerning a woman's emotional reactions to childbirth using our modified PDI tool can detect those likely to endorse CB-PTSD in the early postpartum. This may serve as the initial step of managing symptoms to ultimately prevent chronic manifestations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-25
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier B.V.


  • Childbirth
  • Childbirth-related PTSD
  • Delivery, obstetric
  • Diagnosis
  • Factorial analysis
  • Postpartum PTSD
  • Postpartum period
  • Receiver Operating Characteristic
  • Screening
  • Traumatic childbirth
  • Validity


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