Help-seeking and treatment delivery preferences for women experiencing perinatal anxiety symptoms
Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy
Cambridge University Press
School of Arts and Humanities
University of England, Australia
Background: Anxiety is common during the perinatal period and despite effective treatments being available, many women with perinatal anxiety disorders experience barriers when accessing treatment. Aims: The aims of the current study were to explore women's perceived barriers to treatment uptake; cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) treatment delivery preferences; and the utility of the Health Belief Model (HBM) in predicting intention to seek psychological help for women with perinatal anxiety symptoms. Method: This study employed a cross-sectional design consisting of women with self-reported anxiety in the perinatal period. A total of 216 women (M age=28.53 years; SD=4.97) participated in the study by completing a battery of online self-report measures. Results: The results indicated that the most salient barriers to accessing care were: (1) the cost of treatment, (2) wanting to solve the problem on their own, and (3) thinking the problem would go away without treatment. Group-delivered CBT was the least acceptable treatment method, while face-To-face individual CBT was the most acceptable treatment method. The HBM variables predicted approximately 35% of the variance in help-seeking intention. Discussion: This study has important implications for the delivery of psychological care in the perinatal period and may be used to improve treatment uptake.