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Title: The social psychology of 'post natal depression'.
Author: Nicolson, Paula.
ISNI:       0000 0001 2444 5627
Awarding Body: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Current Institution: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Date of Award: 1988
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The aim of this thesis has been to reconceptualize 'post natal depression' and challenge the 'clinical' and 'social science' models of explanation. It has focussed on a) whether 'post natal depression' is an objective phenomenon, and b) whether the experience of 'post natal depression' is the same for every women, and C) whether there are any common features of the experience of childbirth and early mothering which enable the construction of 'normal' experience. It begins by suggesting that the 'clinical' and 'social science' models are problematic in that they are based on ideological assumptions and not scientific evidence about what is 'normal' following childbirth. This is explored by examining the previous literature and by using a pre-validated measure of 'post natal depression' in the pilot work alongside semi-structured interviews. The literature demonstrates a history of weak conceptualization and associated poor methodology, with explicit and implicit assumptions about the psychology of women, childbirth and the motherhood role. This thesis therefore sets out to re-examine and re-define 'post natal depression' by analysing detailed accounts of pregnancy, childbirth and early motherhood within a framework suggested by Gidden's stratification model of knowledge and other frameworks which take human reflexiveness into account.. The research comprised a small-scale longitiudinal study in which 24 women were interviewed up to four times; during pregnancy, and one, three and six months after delivery. The data comprised indepth verbatim transcriptions (from tape recorded interviews) which were analyzed to consider the meaning of the experience of childbirth, depression and early mothering to the individual respondent, and also to review the common features of the experience in order to suggest a construction of what is 'normal' here. The conclusion identifies certain elements of experience which are likely to lead to 'depression' at various stages after childbirth. These are concerned with physical stress, initial ibsecurities and lack of effective support and loss of former identity. They are not co-terminus with the 'stressors' of the 'social science' model in that their effect is totally subject to the meaning attributed to the events by each woman within the context of her biography.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Postnatal Psychology Medicine