Partner support and maternal depression in the context of the Iowa floods

J Fam Psychol. 2014 Dec;28(6):832-43. doi: 10.1037/fam0000027. Epub 2014 Sep 22.


A systematic investigation of the role of prenatal partner support in perinatal maternal depression was conducted. Separate facets of partner support were examined (i.e., received support and support adequacy) and a multidimensional model of support was applied to investigate the effects of distinct types of support (i.e., informational, physical comfort, emotional/esteem, and tangible support). Both main and stress-buffering models of partner support were tested in the context of prenatal maternal stress resulting from exposure to a natural disaster. Questionnaire data were analyzed from 145 partnered women using growth curve analytic techniques. Results indicate that received support interacts with maternal flood stress during pregnancy to weaken the association between stress and trajectories of maternal depression from pregnancy to 30 months postpartum. Support adequacy did not interact with stress, but was associated with levels of depressive symptoms controlling for maternal stress and received support. Results demonstrate the distinct roles of various facets and types of support for a more refined explanatory model of prenatal partner support and perinatal maternal depression. Results inform both main effect and stress buffering models of partner support as they apply to the etiology of perinatal maternal depression, and highlight the importance of promoting partner support during pregnancy that matches support preferences.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Depression, Postpartum / diagnosis*
  • Depression, Postpartum / psychology*
  • Disasters*
  • Female
  • Floods*
  • Humans
  • Iowa
  • Pregnancy
  • Protective Factors
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Support*
  • Spouses / psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological / complications
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult