Anxiety is prevalent in adolescents and may be particularly problematic in pregnant adolescents. The purpose of this structural equation modeling analysis was to test a biobehavioral model in which postpartum self-competence mediated pathways from anxiety and cortisol during pregnancy to anxiety 3 years later. Self-reports of anxiety and self-competence and salivary cortisol samples were obtained from 78 healthy primiparous and 57 nonpregnant comparison adolescent girls matched for age and socio-economic status. Assessments were done during the first half of pregnancy, 3-4 weeks after childbirth, and at a 3-year follow up. For pregnant girls, linkages from initial anxiety to self-competence to follow-up anxiety were significant and negative, as hypothesized. Direct and indirect pathways between initial and follow-up anxiety were significant. Cortisol levels did not predict self-competence or anxiety. For nonpregnant adolescents, the model fit poorly. Findings suggest self-competence may play a mediating role in young mothers' anxiety across time.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cultural Studies
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Behavioral Neuroscience