A1 Journal article (refereed)
The role of self-esteem on fear of childbirth and birth experience (2022)

Raudasoja, M., Sorkkila, M., Vehviläinen-Julkunen, K., Tolvanen, A., & Aunola, K. (2022). The role of self-esteem on fear of childbirth and birth experience. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology, Early online. https://doi.org/10.1080/02646838.2022.2115989

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsRaudasoja, Mirjam; Sorkkila, Matilda; Vehviläinen-Julkunen, Katri; Tolvanen, Asko; Aunola, Kaisa

Journal or seriesJournal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology



Publication year2022

Publication date04/09/2022

VolumeEarly online


Publication countryUnited Kingdom

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessOpenly available

Publication channel open accessPartially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/82959


Objective: Fear of childbirth (FOC), also referred to as tokophobia, can have detrimental consequences for a woman’s well-being during pregnancy and for their subjective birth experience. However, it is unknown what role self-esteem plays in the relationship between FOC and the experience of childbirth. This study investigates the relation between FOC and the birth experience, and the role of selfesteem in that relation.
Methods: We studied 125 nulliparous and parous Finnish women from their third trimester of pregnancy to 4–8 weeks postpartum. Path analysis with MLR estimation was conducted using MPlus to predict the childbirth experience according to prior self-esteem and fear of childbirth as well as their interaction. Also, age and parity were included as predictors of the birth experience, as well as their interactions with self-esteem. FOC was measured with the Wijma Delivery Expectancy/Experience Questionnaire – version A (W-DEQA), self-esteem with the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES), and birthing experience with the Delivery Satisfaction Scale (DSS).
Results: We found that self-esteem moderated the association between fear of childbirth and the subjective birth experience: the lower the self-esteem, the stronger the negative connection between FOC and the birth experience; and, reversely, the higher the self-esteem, the weaker the connection between FOC and the birth experience.
Conclusions: The results highlight intra-group differences between fearful women and contribute to theory formation. They can be used in clinical practice and when planning interventions to reduce negative birth experiences.

Keywordsself-esteemfears (specific)fear of childbirthdelivery (birth)

Free keywordsfear of childbirth; self-esteem; birth experience; childbirth; birthing; tokophobia

Contributing organizations

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2022

JUFO rating1

Last updated on 2024-14-06 at 23:07