Trajectories of anxiety and health related quality of life during pregnancy

K. Oliver Schubert, Tracy Air, Scott R. Clark, Luke E. Grzeskowiak, Edward Miller, Gustaaf A. Dekker, Bernhard T. Baune, Vicki L. Clifton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)
26 Downloads (Pure)


Anxiety and health related Quality of Life (HRQoL) have emerged as important mental health measures in obstetric care. Few studies have systematically examined the longitudinal trajectories of anxiety and HRQoL in pregnancy. Using a linear growth modeling strategy, we analyzed the course of State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI)- and Short Form (36) Health Survey (SF-36) scores between the 12th and the 36th week of gestation, in a sample of 355 women. We additionally analyzed the impact of depressive symptoms and a chronic medical condition (asthma), on STAI and SF-36 trajectory curves. STAI scores remained stable throughout pregnancy. A previous history of anxiety increased the overall STAI scores. Asthma and depressive symptoms scores had no impact on the STAI trajectory. Physical SF-36 scores decreased over the course of pregnancy, whereas mental SF-36 trended towards improvement. Asthma reduced physical SF-36 overall. While high depressive symptoms decreased the overall mental SF-36, they were also significantly associated with mental SF-36 improvements over time. Anxiety symptoms are stable during pregnancy and are not modulated by depressive symptoms or asthma. Physical HRQoL declines in pregnancy. In contrast, mental HRQoL appears to improve, particularly in women with high initial levels of depressive symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0181149
Number of pages14
JournalPLoS One
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jul 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


  • HRQoL
  • Obstetric care
  • linear growth modeling strategy
  • State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI)
  • Short Form (36) Health Survey (SF-36)
  • depression
  • anxiety


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