Date of Award
Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)
Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology
Mary Peterson, Ph.D.
Jeri Turgesen, PsyD.
Ryan Dix, PsyD.
Pregnancy and childbirth is a biologically, socially, and psychologically complex period in a woman’s life (Anda, 2010). Carrying an infant in the womb is made even more difficult if a mother has endured her own trauma, potentially transmitting a vulnerability to her child’s development through maternal behavior and emotions (Hudziak, 2018). Additionally, the transition to parenthood is a general life stressor which often activates her attachment system. Symptoms of depression, anxiety, and trauma may also interfere with her ability to bond with her child (Main, 2000). Although the complexity of pregnancy and motherhood can be daunting, a mother’s resilience may mitigate the impact of these risk factors and support her health and wellbeing. Psychologists define resilience as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress (APA, 2012). Few studies have focused on the impact of resilience to stress on the mental and physical health of pregnant women (Ma et al., 2019). This study seeks to describe the risk of adverse birth outcomes associated with prenatal trauma and insecure attachment, as well as the potential to positively impact resilience through the incorporation of a resiliency based intervention early in pregnancy. The intervention targeted the risk of developing mood symptoms, identified positive coping strategies and highlighted meaningful resources for women to access during the prenatal period to help support pregnancy health and wellbeing.
Harbets, Joanna L., "C.H.A.N.G.E.: Strengthening Resiliency in Pregnancy" (2021). Doctor of Psychology (PsyD). 428.