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Fear of childbirth measurement: Appraisal of the content overlap of four instruments

Martin, Colin; Jones, Catriona; Marshall, Claire; Huang, Chao; Reeve, Joanne; Fleming, Mick; König, Julia; Jomeen, Julie


Colin Martin

Catriona Jones

Claire Marshall

Mick Fleming

Julia König

Julie Jomeen


Objective: To evaluate empirically the degree of content overlap between four self-report measures of fear of childbirth (FoC) identified as ‘best in class’ by a recent review.

Background: FoC and tokophobia is an area of increasing clinical concern and has been linked to poor maternal and neonatal outcomes. Clinical pathways have been established to improve care and interventions for FoC however, ambiguity and inconsistency remain regarding the most appropriate assessment measures.

Method: A multi-rater and consensus content analysis was undertaken to determine the degree of overlap between four ‘best in class’ measures of FoC/tokophobia.

Results: The Slade-Pais expectations of childbirth scale (SPECS) was found to be the preferred measure in terms of symptom overlap of the tools evaluated, however, the overall level of overlap among these measures was weak.

Conclusion: Limitations inherent to the current battery of preferred measures of FoC suggests both the desirability and urgency to develop a theoretically-grounded, psychometrically robust and accurate FoC assessment measure. Current measures of FoC are not interchangeable.


Martin, C., Jones, C., Marshall, C., Huang, C., Reeve, J., Fleming, M., …Jomeen, J. (in press). Fear of childbirth measurement: Appraisal of the content overlap of four instruments. Journal of reproductive and infant psychology,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 29, 2020
Online Publication Date Dec 22, 2020
Deposit Date Nov 30, 2020
Publicly Available Date Oct 27, 2022
Journal Journal of reproductive and infant psychology
Print ISSN 0264-6838
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Public URL
Publisher URL


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