Prenatal Sleep Quality and Mental Health Symptoms across the Perinatal Period: A Longitudinal Study of High-Risk Women

Master's Thesis


The perinatal period, characterized by major psychological, physiological, and social changes, can exert great stress on mind and body and increase risk for adverse maternal and infant health outcomes. Trauma-exposed women may be at magnified risk for posttraumatic stress (PTSS) and depression symptoms in the perinatal period, but few studies have examined symptomatology across the perinatal period in high-risk samples. Further, the role of sleep in perinatal symptomatology has been largely neglected in the violence literature. Thus, the current study sought to examine the role of prenatal sleep quality in the course of depression and PTSS across pregnancy and postpartum among high-risk women. Multilevel modeling with random intercepts was used to test changes in women’s PTSS and depression symptoms over time at the individual level (within-subject) and by sleep quality, childhood adversity, and past-year IPV (between-subjects). Results suggest past-year IPV is associated with elevated prenatal PTSS (ß=0.26, p< .01) and depression symptoms (ß=0.17, p<.001) and sleep difficulties are associated with a worsening trajectory in PTSS across pregnancy and postpartum (ß=0.01, p<.05). Screening for IPV and sleep difficulties may be paramount in reducing the development or exacerbation of mental health symptoms in the perinatal period.


Attribute NameValues
Author Julia L. Paulson
Contributor Kristin Valentino, Committee Member
Contributor Laura Miller-Graff, Research Director
Contributor Jessica Payne, Committee Member
Degree Level Master's Thesis
Degree Discipline Psychology
Degree Name MA
Defense Date
  • 2018-04-03

Submission Date 2018-04-07
  • perinatal

  • longitudinal

  • pregnancy

  • intimate partner violence

  • mental health

  • trauma

  • postpartum

  • adverse childhood experiences

  • depression

  • PTSD

  • English

Record Visibility Public
Content License
Departments and Units


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