Anger after childbirth: An overlooked reaction to postpartum stressors

Jennifer E. Graham, Marci Lobel, Robyn Stein DeLuca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Other than postpartum depression, little is known about women's emotional responses to childbirth and subsequent stressors. Anger was explored on the basis of theory and evidence that it is a likely emotional response in this context. During their third trimester of pregnancy and approximately six weeks after delivery, 163 participants completed the Beck Depression Inventory and the anger subset of the Affect Balance Scale. A number of childbirth-relevant variables were examined as predictors of postpartum emotional response, controlling for prepartum levels and for the association between anger and depressed mood. As expected, a substantial group of women reported high levels of anger irrespective of depressed mood. Although the majority of variables predicted depressed mood, childcare stress, age, and religious self-identification were independently predictive of postpartum anger (all p values <.05). Implications for research and clinical intervention are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)222-233
Number of pages12
JournalPsychology of Women Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gender Studies
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology


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