Psychology of Pregnancy: Peace and War-time


Name: Irene Rich

Rank: COL, USA

Organization: Walter Reed Army Medical Center

Performance Site: Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, DC; Fort Riley, KA; Madigan Army Medical Center, Tacoma, WA

Year Published: 1993

Abstract Status: Initial


Rich (1993), in her war-time study of psychological variables in pregnant military beneficiaries, could not determine if the alarmingly high psychological distress levels of respondents were the result of pregnancy or war-time stressors. The purpose of this replication study is to gather peace-time data so that conclusions can be drawn outlining the confounding effect of war-time stressors on pregnant women's ambivalence, attitudes toward pregnancy, and psychological distress. It may also explain why hypothesized differences based on pregnancy trimester were not found. Pregnancy attitudes and ambivalence will be measured using the Rich Pregnancy Attitude and Ambivalence Scales (R-PAAS). Deragotis' Symptom Checklist-90-Revised (SCL-90-R) is a sensitive measure of current psychological status, and will be used to assess psychological distress. An ex post facto, two group design will be employed to make peace- and war-time and soldier versus family member comparisons. Multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) will be used for this analysis. A combination of cross-sectional and quota sampling techniques will be used to recruit 675 women to participate with a minimum sample of 100 women per pregnancy trimester. To obtain sufficient data to explore the psychometric properties of the R-PAAS, this sample size exceeds that recommended by power analysis (Cohen & Cohen, 1983). The desired sample size of 450 was further adjusted to allow for 66% mailed survey response rate. A sample of 15 pregnant women will be recruited during the first trimester to participate in a longitudinal pilot project designed to describe changes in women's ambivalence, pregnancy attitudes, and psychological distress as pregnancy progresses. The study will add to what is known about the war-time psychology of pregnancy. The proposed research is a key step in an ongoing program of research which will be focused on improving care and outcomes for pregnant women and their families.