Deakin University

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Pre-pandemic adversity and maternal mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic: the mediating role of pandemic stress and family relationships

journal contribution
posted on 2023-11-28, 04:25 authored by A Fogarty, S Brown, G McMahon, KM FitzPatrick, D Gartland, M Seymour, Rebecca GialloRebecca Giallo
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic was a time of increased stress for families. Parents with a history of adversity may have been at higher risk of experiencing mental health problems during this time. The current study aims to investigate the relationship between pre-pandemic adversity pandemic related stressors and maternal mental health outcomes during the pandemic. Methods: Data was drawn from the Mothers' and Young People's Study (MYPS), a longitudinal of first time mothers and their children. Participants were 418 mothers who completed the MYPS COVID-19 sub-study. Data was collected during pregnancy, at 1, 4, 10 years postpartum, and during the COVID-19 pandemic (approximately 14 years postpartum). Path-analysis was used to test the relationship indirect relationship between pre-pandemic adversity and maternal depressive and anxiety symptoms, via family functioning and pandemic related stress. Results: The hypothesised model was a good fit to the data accounting for 34 % and 33 % of the variance in maternal depressive and anxiety scores, respectively. A significant indirect effect was found between pre-pandemic adversity and both maternal anxiety and depressive systems via family relationships during the pandemic and pandemic related stress. Limitations: MYPS participants who took part in the COVID-19 sub-study were more likely to be older, have a higher level of education, and speak English as a first language, compared to the total MYPS sample. Conclusions: Family inclusive service responses which aim to strengthen family relationships may be particularly important for families where there is a history of adversity to support parental mental health.



Journal of Affective Disorders













Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal


Elsevier BV