The Effects of Childhood Abuse on the Development of Postpartum Psychopathology
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This study examines the effects of childhood abuse on development of later depression (MDD) and PTSD. Participants were postpartum women who had experienced childhood abuse, and a control group of postpartum women with no abuse history. Participants were given questionnaires about their abuse experience, associated societal and maternal characteristics, and level of MDD and PTSD. Characteristics of the abuse experience (age, type, severity, perpetrator, disclosure, nature of disclosure), maternal characteristics (coping strategies, level of trauma cognitions, and blaming style), and societal characteristics (current level of social support, annual household income, mother’s age/race, and mother’s education level) were all individually compared with levels of MDD and PTSD. It was hypothesized that younger age at the time of abuse, high severity of abuse, and a familial perpetrator would be linked to higher levels of MDD and PTSD. It was also hypothesized that younger age of mother, minority status, an educational level less than high school, low household income, and lower levels of current social support would be linked to higher levels of both MDD and PTSD. In addition, it was hypothesized that lower levels of resiliency, a higher level of negative trauma-related cognitions, and placing blame for the abuse internally would be related to higher levels of MDD and PTSD. Moderating effects of variables were also to be tested.