Date of Award

January 2015

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Megan Smith

Second Advisor

Mayur Desai


Purpose: The goals of this study were to determine the prevalence and type of maternal trauma since childbirth, to examine the association between maternal trauma, PTSD, and maternal stress, and to assess the impact of PTSD symptom severity on maternal stress.

Methods: Participants consisted of 297 women who were screened for trauma, PTSD, and maternal stress at 28 (±2) weeks gestation, 8(±4) weeks postpartum, and at approximately 3 years after their child's birth. Using results from the 3 year survey, unadjusted and adjusted associations between PTSD status and parental stress were examined using ANOVA F-test and multiple regression, respectively.

Results: Over half the women in the sample had experienced a traumatic event since the birth of their child. 22 women were in current PTSD episode. Mothers with current PTSD exhibited greater maternal stress compared with both mothers who experienced trauma since the birth of their child but did not currently have PTSD and mothers who had no trauma history.

Conclusions: Approximately 1 in 2 women experienced a traumatic event since the birth of their child. Both trauma and PTSD, in particular, are important risk factors for elevated maternal stress.


This is an Open Access Thesis.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access