Baby preparation and worry scale (Baby-PAWS): Instrument development and psychometric evaluation

Nora L. Erickson, Alyssa A. Neumann, Gregory R. Hancock, Maria A. Gartstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: The Baby Preparation and Worry Scale (Baby-PAWS) addresses expectant mothers' anticipatory worries regarding the transition to parenthood, focusing on practical concerns (i.e., ability to care for the infant, securing childcare, personal wellbeing, and partner involvement). Aims: The present study describes measurement development, psychometric evaluation, and predictive and concurrent validity of Baby-PAWS, administered during pregnancy. Study design: We used a repeated-measures design, with anonymous self-report obtained during the 3rd trimester of pregnancy and at 2 months postpartum. Subjects: Healthy pregnant women (N = 276) completed Baby-PAWS and measures of depression, general anxiety, and pregnancy-specific anxiety. Demographic, pregnancy, and birth-related information (e.g., complications, gestational age) was also obtained. At postpartum follow-up, the majority (n = 154) met inclusion criteria and provided data on themselves and their infants. Outcome measures: Prenatally, we examined correlations between Baby-PAWS and established measures of general anxiety, pregnancy-specific anxiety, and depression. Postnatally, Baby-PAWS scores were used to predict maternal depression, anxiety, and infant temperament. Results and conclusions: Two factor-analytic techniques indicated a three-factor structure, with internal consistency for all three components and the overall scale. We labeled the three factors: Self and Partner Worry, Non-parental Childcare Worry, and Baby Caregiving Worry, based on item content. Higher Baby-PAWS scores were associated with greater anxiety and depression in the third trimester. Predictive links with postpartum anxiety/depression symptoms and infant temperament were observed for the overall Baby-PAWS score and Self and Partner Worry factor. Although this instrument requires further evaluation, it offers promising utility in research and clinical settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105080
JournalEarly Human Development
StatePublished - Aug 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Research reported in the manuscript was made possible by the 2015 Marchionne Summer Research Fellowship from Washington State University to the first author.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier B.V.


  • Anxiety
  • Prenatal
  • Transition to parenthood


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