Anxiety disorders are the most common of all mental health conditions. They affect 20 percent of pregnant and postpartum people, and are associated with significant distress and life interference for sufferers, as well as negative consequences for the fetus and infant.
Little, if any, routine screening for these disorders is conducted. This is mostly because accurate screening tools have yet to be identified. The majority of screening studies have used poor quality research methodology or have assessed measures which appeared to perform too poorly to be recommended for widespread use. The result of this is that perinatal anxiety disorders often go unidentified, resulting in continued suffering and life impairment.
The purpose of this research is to identify one or more accurate and reliable perinatal anxiety disorder screening tool(s). To do this, we will conduct a large scale study of pregnant and postpartum people in which we assess the accuracy of the most promising perinatal anxiety disorder screening tools.
This research will provide important information to inform healthcare providers, policymakers and scientists, about the most effective approach to screening for anxiety disorders during pregnancy and the postpartum period.