Psychological distress, depression, anxiety, stress, and exercise in Australian and New Zealand mothers: A cross-sectional survey

Geoff P. Lovell, Angela Huntsman, Jodie Hedley-Ward

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article

5 Citations (Scopus)


Postnatal psychological well-being is a complex issue characterized by major changes in physical, social, and emotional health. In response to addressing limitations of previous research this study aimed to: (i) quantify psychological distress, depression, anxiety, and stress in a large sample of Australian and New Zealand mothers and to compare to Australian norm data; and (ii) identify any significant differences in psychological distress, depression, anxiety, and stress of the mothers when grouped according to their self-reported exercise incidence. Self-reported short-form version Depression Anxiety Stress Scale data were collected from 3601 Australia and New Zealand mothers with at least one child under the age of 5 years. Results demonstrated that this sample of mothers had significantly poorer psychological well-being than the general Australian population. Furthermore, with the exception of anxiety, psychological well-being of mothers who reported exercising three to four times per week was significantly and meaningfully more positive compared to those mothers that reported not to exercise.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-48
Number of pages7
JournalNursing and Health Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2015
Externally publishedYes



  • Anxiety
  • Australia
  • Exercise
  • Mothers
  • New Zealand
  • Psychological distress
  • Stress

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