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Pregnancy affects appraisal of negative life events



It has been demonstrated that physiological responses to stress are diminished late in pregnancy. This study investigates whether emotional responding is diminished as well by measuring affective responses to specific life events during pregnancy.


A total of 292 pregnant women reported the occurrence of and affective responses to a range of major life events during gestation. Two analyses were conducted (across events and within events) on these responses to determine whether life events occurring in the first trimester were rated as more stressful than those that occurred in the third trimester.


Both within-event and across-events analyses of responses to life events demonstrated that events occurring early in pregnancy were perceived as more stressful than events occurring later in pregnancy.


Responses to stress and affective state are progressively altered in pregnant women, suggesting that timing of stress exposure during gestation may be critical in determining its impact.

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